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).
November 4, 2018
1) Jesus and Isaac: God is For Us (Doy Moyer)
2) What's the Use? Why Bother? (Greg Gwin)
3) News & Notes
Jesus and Isaac: God is For Us
The story of Abraham sacrificing Isaac (Genesis 22), the son of the
promise, has long been seen as a prefiguring of God sacrificing
Jesus, His unique Son. There are similarities often enumerated: the
uniqueness of the son, the seed of Abraham, the submission of the
son to the father, the willingness to sacrifice, the belief in
resurrection, the son carrying the wood on which he would be
sacrificed, etc. While some comparisons are legitimate, others may
be a bit forced if not careful. Some are natural lessons found in
many events. There are obvious limitations in the comparisons. For
example, whereas Isaac did not know he was supposed to be the
sacrifice, Jesus knew exactly why He came in the flesh, what was
going to happen, and why it would happen (cf. Matt 16:21).
In counting up the similarities between Isaac and Jesus, we can miss
another significant point of the story. Recall what happened when
Isaac asked his father where the lamb for sacrifice was: “Abraham
said, ‘God will provide for himself the lamb for a burnt offering,
my son’” (vv. 7-8). … Abraham’s faith was full on display here, and
God did provide an initial answer for him: “And Abraham lifted up
his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him was a ram, caught in a
thicket by his horns. And Abraham went and took the ram and offered
it up as a burnt offering instead of his son. So Abraham called the
name of that place, ‘The Lord will provide’; as it is said to this
day, ‘On the mount of the Lord it shall be provided’” (vv. 13-14).
It’s about God providing.
If we are to make sense out of the comparisons, then we also need to
see this one: in this story there is a sense in which we are Isaac
under the knife of death, and Jesus is the lamb prefigured by the
ram. God would indeed provide a sacrifice for us. “Behold the Lamb
of God who takes away the sins of the world!” (John 1:29)
Of course, analogies should not be taken further than intended and I
am in no way trying to come up with a one-to-one comparison of
events. However, we do know that Jesus is the lamb of God, provided
by our Creator in order to bring about forgiveness and
reconciliation. We do know that Abraham’s faith drove his
actions, and that he was fully convinced that God would raise Isaac
from the dead if indeed he were put to death (Heb 11:17-18). That
kind of faith is what God calls on us to imitate. By following in
the footsteps of Abraham, we are trusting in the promise of God,
which rests on His grace, to bring us the hope of future
resurrection (see Romans 4).
There is another contrast to be made. In the great passage of Romans
8, Christians are given the promise of God that He will help them to
the end. No matter what obstacles may be in the way, no matter what
the world may do, no matter how much adversity is there, God’s love
has forever been demonstrated in the cross. Notice, in particular,
this amazing passage: “What then shall we say to these things? If
God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own
Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him
graciously give us all things?” (vv. 31-32)
Think again about the Isaac account. “He who did not spare his own
Son” contrasts with the fact that Isaac was spared. Even more, we
are spared. The faith demonstrated by Abraham, knowing that God
would provide the lamb for sacrifice, is finally fulfilled in the
Son of God, who was not spared for the sake of all humanity. Without
the sacrifice of Jesus, we would be forever without the hope of
life. Were Jesus spared, we could not be.
If God is willing to go to this length (even extreme) to save us,
why would we ever doubt His desire and ability to help us achieve
the purpose for which He first made us, then remade us in Christ
after sin had devastated us? Remember that He did this, not after we
became good (which could not just happen), but even while we were
ungodly sinners and enemies who were hostile to Him (Rom 5:6-11).
It may well be, then, that one of the greatest lessons to learn from
comparing Isaac with Jesus is not so much in the similarities of the
events, but in the great contrast: “He who did not spare His own
“He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die
to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been
healed. For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to
the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls” (1 Pet 2:24-25).
If God did all of this for us, why would we ever doubt His desire to
help us through the process to achieve the end goal of
glorification? Be comforted by the fact that God is for us.
— Via bulletin articles of the Vestavia church of Christ,
October 21, 2018
What's The Use? Why Bother?
Do you ever feel like the things that you do don't amount to much?
Do you think that you aren't making much difference in this world?
Do you get discouraged and wonder, "What's the use?"
A familiar incident from the life of Christ might help. John records
the account of Jesus cleansing the temple of the moneychangers in
John chapter 2. This was, obviously, very early in the "public
ministry" of Jesus. Matthew, Mark and Luke all tell about Jesus
cleansing the temple in the last chapters of their gospels -- just
before Jesus was crucified. Is there a contradiction here? No, it
seems clear that Jesus did this twice.
Armed with this understanding, we might ask, "What's the use?" He
cleansed the temple once, and the moneychangers just came right
back. We might be tempted to think, "Why bother?"
The first answer to this question is: you do what's right because it
IS right! No matter how little the result you might see from your
effort, you must keep on doing what is right. Jesus understood this,
and so must we.
Also, we notice that this work of cleansing the temple did have a
positive influence -- if not on the moneychangers, at least on the
disciples of Jesus. "...his disciples remembered that it was
written, "the zeal of thine house hath eaten me up" (Jn 2:17). They
were there. They saw this and were impressed by it. When we stand up
for what it right, others will see it, and our example will have a
positive effect on some.
Finally, we challenge the whole notion that doing right "doesn't do
any good." In the case of Jesus cleansing the temple, it did good in
the near term. The temple was free, at least for a time, of the
corrupt moneychangers. Yes, it had to be done again later. But for
that moment it helped. When we do good, it helps. And we should
never "be weary in well doing" (Gal. 6:9), but rather be "steadfast,
unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as
ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord" (1 Cor. 15:58).
-- Via The Beacon, September 23, 2018
News & Notes
Shirley Davis’ knee replacement surgery went well, and
she is feeling better. On Friday she was transferred to the Baptist
Village nursing home, where she will be undergoing physical therapy
for 21 days.
Rick Cuthbertson is feeling better. Some x-rays and a scan,
however, might be included in his upcoming doctor’s appointment.
Judy Daugherty (Jim Lively’s sister) has started taking
a few steps. So she is doing somewhat better.
For the first time since his surgery, Jim Lively is now
experiencing some swelling along with his other health issues.
Melotine Davis has not been feeling well lately.
Felicia Mackey (Cheryl Corbitt’s daughter) is now doing much
better, following her recent surgery, and resumed her job last
Monday; but she is not to overdo it for a while.
I (Tom Edwards) am doing well and feeling fine, following the
prostate surgery a couple weeks ago, and will be able to resume
driving tomorrow, though I’m still not to overdo it for the
Let us also continue to remember in prayer Joyce
Rittenhouse (Bell’s palsy), Deborah Medlock (recent
surgery), Bennie Medlock (aortic aneurysm), Pat Joyner
(has need of two heart valve replacements), A.J. Joyner
(health problem), Mary Vandevander (in nursing home),
Danny Hutcheson (almost total paralysis and loss of speech);
Roger Montgomery (complications following liver and kidney
transplants); Mary Aldrich (undergoing rehab); Rex &
Frankie Hadley, Tommy Lindsey, Misty Thornton, and Michelle
WordPress version of this bulletin:
The Steps That Lead to Eternal
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 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
CHURCH OF CHRIST
1402 Tebeau Street, Waycross, GA
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.
Edwards (912) 614-8593
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