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 24, 2019
1) The Gall of Bitterness (Doy Moyer)
2) "Your Reasonable Service" (Greg Gwin)
3) News & Notes
The Gall of Bitterness
“See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root
of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be
defiled; that there be no immoral or godless person like Esau, who
sold his own birthright for a single meal. For you know that even
afterwards, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was
rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought for
it with tears” (Heb. 12:15-17).
Bitterness is a problem of the heart. It essentially comes from
telling ourselves a story about how badly we have been treated, how
much we have been hurt, and how unfair others are toward us. It
works together with a heart of hatred, anger, and malice, often
wishing ill will on those we think have offended us. Think about
what bitterness does:
1. Bitterness causes us to come short of God’s grace. A heart
of bitterness is not a heart for grace. If we are seeking after the
grace of God, we must cut away bitterness, for it cannot coexist
2. The root of bitterness will spring up and cause trouble.
It is a poison that infects and kills, and through which many become
defiled. All it takes is one bitter, angry person to wreak so much
havoc that many will be destroyed. One bitter person can turn away
many souls from Christ, leaving in its wake division and heartache,
wherein is found “disorder and every evil thing” (James 3:16).
3. Bitterness stands contrary to repentance. While
bitterness resides in the heart, there will be anger, excuses,
complaining, and failure to repent. Shortly after Simon was
baptized, he jealously desired the ability of the apostles to lay
hands on others to bestow the Spirit. Peter told him that his heart
was not right with God, that he needed to repent and pray for
forgiveness, “for I see that you are in the gall of bitterness and
in the bondage of iniquity” (Acts 8:21-23). Bitterness puts us
in the bondage of sin; it is a horrible master that only pays the
wages of death (cf. Rom. 6:23).
4. Bitterness stands between people. Grudges cause
division. Where there is bitterness, there can be no forgiving one
another. When unwarranted divisions occur among churches and
Christians, mark it down: bitterness will almost certainly be a
factor! It is a wedge that destroys peace and unity.
5. Bitterness goes hand in hand with jealousy and selfish
ambition. “But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish
ambition in your heart, do not be arrogant and so lie against the
truth” (James 3:14). Bitterness coupled with pride makes for liars
who will invariably speak against truth. It destroys good, sound
thinking and warps our perspective.
Recall that when Jacob stole Esau’s blessing, Esau became bitter and
bore a grudge (Gen. 27:41). This consumed Esau so much that he
wanted to kill Jacob. He found no place for repentance in his anger
and bitterness. How much quality of life and happiness did he give
up in order to remain angry and hateful toward his brother?
Bitterness will rip out our hearts and cause us to hate one another.
There can be no place for this in the heart of a child of God. “Be
angry, and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger,
and do not give the devil an opportunity” (Eph. 4:26).
Paul spoke of “spending our life in malice and envy, hateful, hating
one another” (Titus 3:3). John was clear about the problem of those
who hate their brothers:
1. They are in darkness and blinded (1 John 2:9, 11).
2. Their attitude is such that it renders them as murderers
(1 John 3:15).
3. Those who say they love God but hate a brother are liars
(1 John 4:20).
Hatred, anger, bitterness are all cut from the same cloth. These are
works of the flesh that will keep people out of God’s kingdom.
“Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be
put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another,
tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has
forgiven you” (Eph. 4:31-32).
It matters not how much we think another has wronged us. There is no
place for bitterness. Let’s meditate, therefore, on what it means to
“Who among you is wise and understanding? Let him show by his good
behavior his deeds in the gentleness of wisdom. But if you have
bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your heart, do not be
arrogant and so lie against the truth. This wisdom is not that which
comes down from above, but is earthly, natural, demonic. For where
jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every
evil thing. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable,
gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering,
without hypocrisy. And the seed whose fruit is righteousness is sown
in peace by those who make peace” (James 3:13-18).
-- Via Bulletin Articles of the Vestavia church of Christ, January
“Your Reasonable Service”
Do you believe that there is a God? Are you convinced that He is the
Creator of the entire universe? Have you examined the evidence and
become persuaded that He not only has made everything, but also
sustains all things that we see and know (Col. 1:16,17)? There is
ample proof, and believing in these things requires no 'blind leap
of faith.' Rather, it is a logical conclusion based upon the
evidence. The apostle Paul said: "For of him, and through him, and
to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever" (Rom. 11:36).
Those who will honestly study the matter must surely agree.
Having made this point, Paul proceeds in the next verse to make a
plea based upon the truth that God is the Creator and sustainer of
the universe: "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of
God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy,
acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service" (12:1) Do you
see it? The emphasis here is upon what is "reasonable." If God made
all things, and continues to provide the necessary support to keep
all things functioning, then it is simply the “reasonable" thing for
us to serve Him. Think about it: we are His; we belong to Him; He
made us; He upholds us. It only makes sense for us, therefore, to do
what He wants us to do.
In this text, the phrase "present your bodies a living sacrifice"
indicates the degree of this "reasonable service." We are not being
called upon to offer ourselves to Him on a part-time basis -- maybe
a few hours per week, or a couple of days each year. Instead, we are
to give ourselves completely over to Him.
In our selfish, self-centered age there are many who are totally
unfamiliar with the notion of "sacrifice." They are the center of
their own universe. They think constantly of what can be gained for
self. They completely ignore the duty that is due to the One who
made them and constantly blesses them with the things that maintain
their existence. Such conduct is absolutely 'unreasonable.'
If you believe in God, logic and reason demand that you humbly serve
Him. Are you doing so? Think!
-- Via The Beacon, February 3, 2019
News & Notes
Folks to be remembering in prayer:
Our sympathies go out to the family and friends of Gene
Kaplan who recently passed away. Let us be keeping
his loved ones in prayer.
Jim Lively continues to have frequent falls and had been
feeling dizzy Friday.
Others to also be praying for: the family and friends of Arthur Laverne
Robertson, and also those of Eddie Fullard; A.J. & Pat Joyner,
Anita Young, Doyle Rittenhouse, Bennie & Deborah Medlock,
James Medlock, Melotine Davis, Shirley Davis, Mary
Vandevander, Michelle Rittenhouse, Marilyn Roberts, John
Stoval, Everleigh and Hazel Greer, Danny Hutcheson, Roger
Montgomery, Mary Aldrich, Rex & Frankie Hadley, and
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
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