The Gospel Observer
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" (Matthew 28:19-20, NASB).
September 9, 2018
1) Divine Authority and Human Relations (Connie W. Adams)
2) News & Notes
Divine Authority and Human Relations
Connie W. Adams
When Satan tempted Jesus to make stones into bread, Jesus responded
by saying, "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word
that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” (Matt. 4:4). This was a
reference to the incident recorded in Deuteronomy 8 when God gave
the Israelites manna in the wilderness. He gave specific
instructions as to how much to gather for a day's supply. Any more
than that would breed worms and stink and they could not use it.
They were to look beyond the actual manna to the source of their
very existence. God was their provider and they were answerable to
him. So it is in all human relations. The God who made the world and
who made us has the right to command, to direct, and to enforce
obedience. He also has the right to enact punishment upon the
Order in the Family
Concerning the family Jesus said, "Have you not read, that he which
made them at the beginning made them male and female, and said, For
this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to
his wife: and they two shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no
more two, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together,
let not man put asunder" (Matt. 19:4-6). Marriage was created by
God, even as he created the universe and set in motion the laws by
which it is ordered. As God made man and determined the bounds of
his habitation, even so God made marriage and set in motion the laws
by which it functions. Notice that "at the beginning" he made them
male and female. That denies evolution, even the theistic brand.
Both male and female were distinctly formed by God and that was done
"at the beginning."
Notice further that in marriage male and female become one. There is
a perfect and intimate union of mind, soul, and body. They function
not as adversaries, or competitors, but with one heart and soul.
This union is a divine creation and it is just as damaging to
disregard that as it is to reject God's authority in the natural
creation. For man to "put asunder" what "God hath joined together"
is to invite great harm upon this relationship. The balance of moral
behavior is poised upon the permanence and stability of God's divine
order for the family. To "put asunder" what God has joined together
is to tear down the basic unit of all orderly human society. No
wonder such violation of divine authority results in broken hearts,
devastated children, rebellious behavior, hatred, and every evil
work. Malice, bitterness, jealousy, envy, hatred, lying, cheating,
stealing, and murder often follow in the wake of man's presumption
in tearing apart what God joined together.
There is something else here worthy of note and that is that
marriage is more than a social or civil ceremony. While the customs
and laws of man require certain things which validate a marriage in
any given culture (and devout people ought to respect such things),
it is God who creates the bond. Only divinely expressed authority
can sever that. Death severs this bond (Rom. 7:1-3). In the context
of the passage we are considering (Matt. 19), Jesus taught that
fornication grants the injured party the right to put away the
guilty (v. 9). But while we debate the exception, let it not be
forgotten that there is a rule here. It is simply that God created
marriage. He establishes the bond and man is not to put it asunder.
Any violation of what he taught about it flaunts divine authority.
That cannot be done without a price to pay.
Order in the Civil Government
The same divine power that created the universe, made man in his
image, designed the family and fashioned the laws by which each of
these is ordered, designed civil government for the good of mankind.
"Let every soul be subject to the higher power, for there is no
power but of God and the powers that be are ordained of God" (Rom.
13:1). Without specifying any one form of civil rule over another,
God still ordained "the powers that be." By divine authority they
function. Peter clearly stated the design of civil government.
"Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake:
whether it be to the king, as supreme; or unto governors, as unto
them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for
the praise of them that do well" (1 Pet. 2:13-14).
It is the duty of civil rulers to "punish the evil doers."
Lawbreakers, the rebellious, those who do not respect the rule of
law, are not to be tolerated. They are to be punished. In every
dispensation this principle is revealed. In Genesis 9:6 God said,
"Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed." It is
this same principle revealed in the law of Moses which contained
over 30 instances in which capital punishment was to be inflicted.
Ezra spelled out the demand for punishment upon the law-breakers,
showing the punishment suited to the seriousness of the crime. "And
whosoever will not do the law of thy God, and the law of the king,
let judgment be executed speedily upon him, whether it be unto
death, or to banishment, or to confiscation of goods, or to
imprisonment" (Ezra 7:26). Note that whatever punishment was to be
administered to suit the nature of the crime, it was to be done
"speedily" (KJV, NKJV). The New American Standard Version reads
"strictly." There was to be no dalliance. The offender was not to
"get off." The punishment was exact, determined beforehand according
to the offense and it was to be executed with speed. Solomon added
that failure to carry out sentence against an evil work "speedily"
would cause the hearts of men to be set on evil (Eccl. 8:11). Is
strict punishment a deterrent to crime? The Lord thought so and
revealed it through inspired men. The whole debate on this issue now
springs from a lack of respect for the divine authority of the
In the New Testament, Paul said the civil ruler is "the minister of
God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid;
for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God,
a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil" (Rom. 13:4).
The civil ruler has a "sword," a weapon of force. Who gave it to
him? By what right does he use it? "He is the minister of God, a
revenger, to execute wrath on him that doeth evil." Civil law
exercised without prompt and certain punishment for those who
violate that law, opens the door to anarchy. When policemen are
stripped of power, when the system is rigged in favor of the
criminal and his "rights" transcend those of his victims, then
justice is perverted and an escalation in crime is inevitable. When
cases are decided without regard to the evidence and verdicts are
based on emotion in spite of clear evidence, then the rule of law
has suffered a serious blow.
Peter said the rulers are also to "praise those who do well." The
rights and safety of those who are submissive to law must be secured
by rulers. The greatest asset which law enforcement has is the
presence of God-fearing, law-abiding citizens who are not only
concerned with their "rights" but the "rights" of others as well.
People who pay their debts, go to work on time, work hard, and
observe the laws (whether the speed limit, the requirement for
hunting or fishing licenses), rear decent and honorable children,
and who practice the Golden Rule are benefactors to the powers that
be. They ought to be encouraged in right doing. Any time laws are
slanted to punish people for doing right, then God's will is not
done. When married people are taxed at a higher rate than those who
simply "live together" then evil is encouraged and those who do well
are disadvantaged. Instead of mocking and working to punish those
who live by the law, not just out of fear of punishment, but because
they believe this to be the will of God, civil rulers ought to
protect and praise those who do well, as Peter said. Something
surely is out of whack in these times! What is the real problem? It
is disrespect for God who authorized civil government.
— Via Navarre Messenger, May 21, 2017
News & Notes
We extend our condolences to the family and friends of Bob
Pennock (Marie Pennock's brother-in-law) who recently passed
Melotine Davis had not been feeling well.
Jim Lively has continued to have health difficulties since
his surgery back in July 2016.
Let us also be remembering our shut-ins: Shirley Davis and Mary
Also for prayer: A.J. & Pat Joyner, Bennie & Deborah
Medlock, Mary Aldrich, Richard Kristianson, Danny Hutcheson, Roger
Montgomery, and Michelle Rittenhouse.
WordPress version of this bulletin:
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. 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: 2 p.m.
(Ladies' Bible class)
Wednesday: 7 p.m. (Bible
evangelist/editor: Tom Edwards
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(Older version of Gospel Observer website
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