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.
February 10, 2019
1) Thanksgiving and Singing (David Maravilla)
2) A Greased Pole (Ken Green)
3) News & Notes
Thanksgiving and Singing
His gates with thanksgiving,
And into His courts with praise.
Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.
For the LORD is good;
His mercy is everlasting,
And His truth endures to all generations (Psa. 100:4-5).
As God’s people, we have many reasons to be thankful. What is the
correct way for us to voice our thanks to God? Prayer is usually the
answer, but the Bible reveals that thanksgiving through song is just
as valid as giving thanks through prayer.
Thanksgiving Through Song
The two most famous New Testament passages about singing discuss
thanksgiving. Paul wrote, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you
richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms
and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to
the Lord” (Col. 3:16). Singing “with grace” means to sing with
“gratitude" (N.I.V) or “thankfulness” (N.A.S.B). Therefore, singing
is obviously a way to give thanks.
Likewise, singing and thanksgiving are connected by this passage:
“Speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs,
singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, giving thanks
always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord
Jesus Christ” (Eph. 5:19-20).
Singing or Praying?
Some think Paul changed the focus from singing to prayer in these
passages when he mentioned thanksgiving in Jesus’ name. Indeed,
without the preceding verse, Colossians 3:17 sounds like a reference
to prayer: “And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name
of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.”
Likewise, Ephesians 5:20, apart from verse 19, could be mistaken for
a description of prayer: “Giving thanks always for all things to God
the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
However, these passages are about singing, not prayer. Even in
passages about singing, we tend to think of prayer when we see
“giving thanks” in connection with “in the name of the Lord” because
we have not fully considered that singing is as legitimate a way of
giving thanks to God in Jesus’ name as prayer is. We have developed
a tradition of stating aloud that our public prayers are “in Jesus’
name.” However, as Paul wrote here, singing, and everything else we
do, must be “in the name of the Lord,” regardless of whether we
state it every time.
Though we distinguish between “acts of worship,” it is clear that
various actions can serve the same purpose. In this case,
thanksgiving in Jesus’ name can be done through song as well as
prayer. Though prayers and songs are, by definition, not the same
thing, similarities exist. The difference is simply music—remove the
melody, harmony, and timing from many hymns and what remains is a
prayer. We can give thanks through song or prayer, and God takes one
as seriously as he does the other.
We take prayer seriously. Those who arrive late to services do not
usually come down the aisle to find a seat during a prayer. People
do not habitually walk to the bathroom in the middle of a prayer,
nor do deacons leave their seats to adjust the thermostat. We wait
until the prayer is over to do some necessary things because we do
not want to distract others. If thanksgiving through song is just as
valid as thanksgiving through prayer, should we not show the same
courtesy when singing? Whether our heads are bowed in prayer while
the leader says, “Lord, we thank you for this day and all of its
blessings,” or we joyfully sing “Lord of all to Thee we raise, This
our hymn of grateful praise,” we are voicing our thanks to God in
the way he prescribed. We must be reverent, regardless of the method
used to give thanks.
— Via Truth Magazine, November 2007, Vol. LI, No. 11,
A Greased Pole
Ever tried to climb a greased pole? Even if you haven't, you know
that it's almost impossible, even for an excellent climber in
tip-top shape. For the rest of us it's just downright impossible.
Well some have put salvation at the top of a greased pole and are
constantly exhorting folks to climb right up and enjoy the benefits.
This extreme has probably been occupied as a reaction to the idea of
escalator salvation. Once one steps onto the escalator, no effort is
necessary whatever. One might expedite matters by taking a few
steps, but one does not need to do so to reach the destination. Such
is the view of those who hold to the doctrine of unconditional
security. The doctrine is certainly contrary to many simple and
clear passages in God's word. Heb. 4:11 exhorts us to "be diligent
to enter that rest." Rev. 2:10 demands that we "be faithful unto
death." Escalator religion is contrary to sound doctrine.
Equally erroneous, however, is the concept of conditional
insecurity. Perhaps such a doctrine has not been actively taught.
But it has been accepted by way of default. I would think that the
great assurance that is constantly given the faithful, striving,
child of God should be administered in equal doses, at least, in our
teaching as the warnings
against falling or drifting away from so great a salvation.
Even before the plan of salvation was consummated at the cross, the
people of God expressed great assurance: "The fear of man brings a
snare, But whoever trusts in the Lord shall be safe" (Prov. 29:25);
“The Lord shall preserve you from all evil; He shall preserve your
soul. The Lord shall preserve your going out and your coming in from
this time forth, and even forever" (Ps. 121:7-8); "Surely goodness
and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell
in the house of the Lord forever" (Ps. 23:6).
Do we who are privileged to live under a better covenant,
established upon better promises, possess less confidence than the
people of a darker age? May it never be!
Paul lived in the security of God's love. Because life to him was
Christ, he could declare confidently that to die was gain and to
depart was to be with the Lord (Phil. 1:21-23; 2 Cor. 5:6-8). He
could say this in spite of the fact that he had not reached
perfection in this life (Phil. 3:12-16).
He exulted in the knowledge that a crown of life awaited him and all
who love His appearing (2 Tim. 4: 8). Jude commends us all to the
God who is able to keep us from falling (verse 24). Peter declares
that "if" (that's conditional, folks), "you do these things you will
never stumble; for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly
into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ" (2
Let us examine ourselves. Are we preaching a greased pole salvation?
Are we guilty of binding "heavy burdens, hard to bear" when we
ourselves will not move them with one of (our) fingers" (Mt. 29:3)?
Let us balance warning with consolation that the committed and
submissive Christian might be motivated to sing with rejoicing and
praise: "Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine. Oh what a foretaste of
glory divine. Heir of salvation, purchase of God; Born of His
Spirit, washed in His blood.”
— Via Searching the Scriptures, June 1991, Volume XXXII,
News & Notes
We extend our condolences to the family and friends of
Eddie Fullard who passed away February 2 at just 53 years of
Marilyn Roberts’ surgery went well, and she is now in the
Jim Lively has been experiencing some swelling of the lower
Shirley Davis had been a week in the hospital, due to
pneumonia; but is now back home. She will soon be resuming her
physical therapy for her knee replacement.
Pat Joyner also had to return to the hospital
recently following her heart valve replacement surgery, but is
also now back home.
Others to also be praying for: A.J. Joyner, Anita Young, Doyle
Rittenhouse, Bennie & Deborah Medlock, James Medlock, Melotine
Davis, Mary Vandevander, Michelle Rittenhouse, Rick
Cuthbertson, John Stoval, Everleigh and Hazel Greer, Danny
Hutcheson, Roger Montgomery, Mary Aldrich, Rex & Frankie
Hadley, and Tommy Lin
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) Repent of sins
(Luke 13:5; Acts 17:30).
4) Confess faith in
Christ (Rom. 10:9-10; Acts
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.
CHURCH OF CHRIST
1402 Tebeau Street, Waycross,
Sunday services: 9:00
a.m. (Bible class); 10 a.m. &
5 p.m. (worship)
Tuesday: 2 p.m.
(Ladies' Bible class)
Wednesday: 7 p.m.
Edwards (912) 281-9917
Observer website with pictures in
(Older version of Gospel Observer
website without pictures, but back
to March 1990)