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 30, 2018
1) Not Our Workmanship, But His (Bill Hall)
2) The Myth (Shane Williams)
3) What Makes the Difference? (Bill Crews)
4) Whose Orders? (Bob Hines)
5) News & Notes
Not Our Workmanship, But His
"For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works,
which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them"
When one is baptized he becomes a new creation, but he is not the
creation of any man. He is the workmanship of God.
He is not the workmanship of the person who converted him -- not
primarily, anyway. Man can teach, influence, persuade, and baptize;
but only God can cleanse, and give him new life. He is God's
creation -- God's workmanship. Just as surely as no man could create
an "Adam," just that surely no man can create a new creature in
Neither is one self-made. In Christ, one does not lift himself "by
his own bootstraps." Christianity is not a "do-it-yourself religion"
-- not in the fullest sense. One does not effect his own salvation
through his own merit. Rather, in obedience to the gospel and
faithfulness as a Christian, he places himself as clay in God's
hand, to become the work of the divine Potter, who molds, shapes,
and perfects him that he might be fashioned in the image of His Son.
He is the workmanship of God because his salvation is "by
grace...through faith," "the gift of" God (Ephesians 2:8,9). If
one's salvation were of meritorious works, he would not be the
workmanship of God. This is the primary thrust of the passage.
The workmanship of God exists as a monument to the greatness of the
Potter; as a beautiful painting is a monument to an artist, so a
mature and perfected Christian is a monument to the marvelous power
of God. Such a person is a product of God's grace and exists for
"the praise of His glory" (Ephesians 1:6,12,14; 3:14-19). That God
could take a Peter, a John, a Saul of Tarsus, an Aquila, a
Priscilla, a John Mark, and mold him or her into the lovely vessel
each became is a manifestation of His greatness. That He could do
the same for people this writer has known and observed equally
manifests His greatness. That He can and will do the same for me if
I will but submit myself to His care in humble obedience, trust, and
prayer is the greatest marvel of all.
The workmanship of God must be handled with care. Such a person is
special, precious, priceless to God. As one is cautious in handling
a family heirloom or rare piece of pottery fashioned by the hands of
a master, so we must be cautious in our treatment of that creation
which is the work of God. "Do not destroy the work of God for the
sake of food," Paul warned the Romans (Romans 14:20). That person
toward whose tender conscience you are showing little regard or
whose soul you are placing in jeopardy is the work of God. Love that
person. Appreciate him. Be tender toward him. Recognize his value.
Handle with care!
The workmanship of God must never be content until it is brought to
perfection. "Finish then Thy new creation," Charles Wesley wrote in
his familiar hymn, "Love Divine." In keeping with this, Paul could
express his confidence in the Philippian Christians, "That He who
has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus
Christ" (Philippians 1:6,7). Only those who remain in the Potter's
hands until brought to completion and perfection become vessels of
honor. All others become marred and fit only for destruction (II
Let not man, then, boast of himself. Self-righteousness has no place
in the heart of a Christian. If any man boast, "let him glory in the
Lord" (I Corinthians 1:31) and "in the cross of our Lord Jesus
Christ" (Galatians 6:14). We are His workmanship.
— via Gospel Power, Vol. 13, No. 33, Aug. 13, 2006
Once we decide to obey God completely, it's easy to assume that the
rest of our life will run smoothly. If it does, we think this proves
that we're doing God's Will. If we run into obstacles, however,
we're quick to conclude that we must be doing something wrong or God
is unhappy with us. Rather than question our measuring stick, we
question our dedication, and sometimes even God.
It's a myth to believe that if we obey God, everything will always
go well. Being dedicated to God means going with Him even when
things don't go our way. In fact, as you consider the growth of the
church in the first century, the Bible is clear that the gospel
advanced during times of suffering.
Although Paul was imprisoned when he wrote to the Philippians, his
adversity didn't cause him concern. His objective was to preach the
gospel and he didn't question that goal just because he had been
arrested. He made the most of the circumstances and continued to
proclaim Jesus even to his captors. His imprisonment furthered the
"Now I want you to know, brethren, that my circumstances have turned
out for the greater progress of the gospel, so that my imprisonment
in the cause of Christ has become well known throughout the whole
praetorian guard and to everyone else, and that most of the
brethren, trusting in the Lord because of my imprisonment, have far
more courage to speak the Word of God without fear" (Philippians
How would you and I react if we were in Paul's shoes? Would we
question our faithfulness, God's love for us, or perhaps question if
there was even a God?
Don't be fooled by the misleading notion that life will be easy if
you obey God. God doesn't always remove difficulties; He uses them
for your good and for His glory.
— via The Lilbourn Light, Vol. 9, Nos. 4,5, Aug/Sept. 2008
What Makes the Difference?
* If a man has money and is not willing to have it examined, people
think it is counterfeit.
* If a man is afraid to take a lie detector test, people think he is
guilty of crime.
* If a man conducts a business and is unwilling to let anyone
investigate it, folks think he is running a crooked business.
But, many preachers teach doctrines that under no circumstances will
they test or allow to be tested by the Bible. Yet millions of people
will accept them as upright, honest teachers of the truth, and will
risk their salvation upon them. What makes the difference? The Bible
instructs us to try the teachers (I John 4:1). The truth never fears
-- Via La Vista church of Christ
Years ago I read notice of a horrible train wreck in which many
people died painfully amid the twisted burning wreckage. The
engineer was killed as well. But as he lay near death he showed
those nearby a paper, saying, "Take this. It will show I was given
the wrong orders." And, they were the wrong orders. He had been on
the wrong track, yet he was still dying, along with many others.
Friend, you have an eternal soul. What orders are you following:
God's, or man's idea of religion? Make sure, because sincerity is
-- via the Beacon, July 8, 2018
News & Notes
We are glad that things went well for Doug Pennock last
Wednesday when he underwent a procedure for an aorta aneurysm.
It is good to be out of the hospital. I (Tom Edwards) was
admitted last Saturday (9/22), late afternoon, and was released
Tuesday about 10 a.m. I had sepsis, due to an urinary tract
infection, probably caused by more than 5 weeks of using
catheters. (As of 9/30, it has now been about 6 weeks and 4
days.) The specific bug that caused the infection is called
“klebsiella pneumoniae,” and for which I am now on antibiotics for
Joyce Rittenhouse has recently been afflicted with Bell's
Palsy, which is affecting the right side of her face. Let us
pray that she will soon and speedily be healed.
I appreciate Danny Bartlett and Baxter Cribbs
filling in for me while I was absent. Due to their preaching
last week — instead of today (the fifth Sunday of the month, when we
give opportunity for two of the men to preach) — I will be doing the
preaching for both worship services.
Let us continue to remember the loved ones of Richard Kristianson
and Rick Hadley. Also continue praying for Mary
Aldrich, Roger Montgomery, Danny Hutchinson, Jim Lively, Shirley
Davis, Mary Vandevander, A.J. & Pat Joyner, Bennie &
Deborah Medlock, Michelle Rittenhouse, Tommy Lindsey, Hannah
Laughlin, and Misty Thornton.
WordPress version for this week's 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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