"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" (Matthew
May 5, 2019
1) Escape (Frank Himmel)
2) "Lord, Do Not Hold This Sin Against Them" (Adam Litmer)
3) An Exhortation: Ephesians 4:1-6
4) News & Notes
The English word escape comes from an old Latin compound word
composed of ex-, “out of,” and cappa, “cape” or “cap.” It
therefore literally means to get out of your cape; that is, to
leave a pursuer holding only your cape while you get away. We
use the word primarily of either breaking free from confinement
or control (e.g., escaping from prison), or of successfully
avoiding something dangerous or unpleasant (e.g., escaping
death). The New Testament has a good bit to say about escaping
in the spiritual realm.
Our first concern must be escaping divine punishment. “It is a
terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God”
(Hebrews 10:31). The righteous judgment of God calls for wrath
against sinners—and that is all of us (Romans 3:23). Thankfully,
He has provided salvation in His Son. It is the exclusive
means. “And there is salvation in no other; for there is no
other name under heaven that has been given among men by which
we must be saved” (Acts 4:13). Therefore, being Jesus’ disciple
is serious business; it calls for careful attention. “How will
we escape if we neglect so great a salvation?” (Hebrews 2:3).
Escaping divine punishment involves several other escapes. It
begins with escaping our captivity in sin. Sinners often see
themselves as free, but in reality they are held captive by the
devil to do his will (2 Timothy 2:26). Escape from that
condition requires repentance and learning the truth (v. 25).
Escaping the devil’s hold on us also requires that we escape the
world’s thinking and conduct. Peter emphasized the importance of
escaping the corruption that is in the world by lust (2 Peter
1:4), the defilement of the world (2 Peter 2:20), and those who
live in error (v. 18).
Satan will not leave us alone when we escape to Christ. He will
still tempt us. Nevertheless, “No temptation has overtaken you
but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not
allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the
temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will
be able to endure it” (1 Corinthians 10:13).
It is up to us to use the way of escape, and it is vital that we
do so. “For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the
world by the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they
are again entangled in them and are overcome, the last state has
become worse for them than the first” (2 Peter 2:20).
“See to it that you do not refuse Him who is speaking. For if
those did not escape when they refused him who warned them on
earth, much less will we escape who turn away from Him who warns
from heaven” (Hebrews 12:25).
-- Via Pathlights, April 28, 2019
“Lord, Do Not Hold This Sin Against Them”
Stephen, a horrifying mess of blood, lacerations, and broken
bones, falls to his knees as the stones continue to crash
against his body. They’ve done their work. Even were every hand
to drop its stone rather than throw it, irreparable damage has
been done. Stephen is going to die.
I do not know whether the vision Stephen was granted of Jesus
standing at the right hand of the Father (Acts 7:55) had
continued as they cast him out of the city and began stoning
him. If it had not then Stephen’s rapidly dimming sight would
have been filled with the malevolent faces of his murderers.
Indeed, his final statement before death may indicate this.
Regardless, the statement itself demonstrates a number of
important points worth consideration.
As he fell to his knees, Stephen cried out, “Lord, do not hold
this sin against them.” Immediately after these words, Stephen
When one carefully considers the situation, Stephen’s final
words become even more striking than they appear at first blush.
The “natural person” (fleshly, sensual, selfish, proud, ungodly.
See 1 Corinthians 2:14; Romans 8:7; Jeremiah 6:10) typically
responds to hate with hate, violence with violence, and anger
with anger. Instances where the “natural person” does not
respond in this way tend to be the exception rather than the
To face the moment of an unjust death at the hands of hateful
people with forgiveness in one’s heart is foreign to humanity
generally. Even if something deep inside the “natural person”
recognizes transcendence in such a heart, they have long learned
to ignore pesky pricks of the conscience God installed within
Truly there is something transcendent in the heart displayed by
Stephen. It is the result of the complete transformation God
works within His people. (Philippians 2:12-13; Ephesians 3:14-
16; 1 Thessalonians 2:13) It is a transformation that must be
desired and permitted, for God will not work it apart from our
will. This is why we are told to let the word of Christ dwell in
you richly, (Colossians 3:16a) to strive for…the holiness
without which no one will see the Lord, (Hebrews 12:14) and to
present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable
to God. (Romans 12:1)
Stephen was not the man he had been before putting on Christ.
Perhaps that man was already kind and patient. Certainly, he was
not so Christ-like before Christ filled his heart and mind.
(Luke 23:34; 1 Peter 2:19-23) Indeed, Christ would have to fill
a heart to overflowing for it to be so deeply concerned with the
souls of its own executioners.
That Stephen spent the last of his strength appealing on their
behalf makes this even more astounding. What type of person
would do this? Certainly not the atheist with all his hopeless
humanism. He hates those who cause him needless pain. Certainly
not the agnostic who has refused to commit to any belief. His
cherished skepticism provides only horrifying doubt at a moment
like this. He despises those who have brought him to it.
Certainly not the lukewarm Christian. He never took it all that
seriously. If he does come to this moment (which is doubtful for
why would he be willing to die for his “faith”?) his thoughts
will not extend beyond his heart’s own worry. Only the heart
transformed and remade in the image of Jesus Christ can think in
the way Stephen thought. How glorious it is!
Peace and love fill this heart. At the moment of death, it need
not plead and beg. It is confident of its salvation, (Romans
8:1; 1 John 5:13) not because it believes itself deserving or
has compiled enough works to earn it, but because its life
has been one of trusting faith reliant upon God’s grace. (Romans
9:30-32a; Ephesians 2:8-10) This repentant, active life has been
dedicated to God’s service and trusts Him to the end. (Titus
2:11-14; 3:8) This saint longs for all to possess what has so
graciously been given to him, even those who may unjustly take
May we all grow to love and trust our Lord as Stephen did. May
our love for souls abound to the very end.
— Via the University Heights Messenger, Volume 11,
Number 4, January 27, 2019
An Exhortation: Ephesians 4:1-6
“Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a
manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called,
with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing
tolerance for one another in love, being diligent to preserve
the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body
and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your
calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of
all who is over all and through all and in all” (NASB)
News & Notes
Folks to be praying for:
Kayleigh Tanner was recently readmitted to the hospital
in Atlanta, due to a low blood count. Until that is back
to a good level, she will not be able to continue with her chemo
We are glad that Penny Medlock is doing better and now
back home from the hospital.
Last week, we mentioned that Bud Montero has recently
been diagnosed with Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia; but, so far,
without the symptoms.
Doug Pennock’s recent dental work had been giving him a
little trouble while healing from it.
Also for our prayers: Pat & A.J. Joyner, Jim Lively,
Shirley Davis, James Medlock, Deborah Medlock, Mary
Vandevander, Rick Cuthbertson, Michelle Rittenhouse, John
Stoval, Amris Bedford, Danny Hutcheson, Roger Montgomery, Rex
and Frankie Hadley, and Tommy Lin
WordPress version of this bulletin:
that is how
2) Believe in
the deity of
3) Repent of
5) Be baptized in
water for the
1 Pet. 3:21).
6) Continue in
the faith, living
for the Lord;
for, if not,
be lost (Heb.
2:10; 2 Pet.
CHURCH OF CHRIST
1402 Tebeau Street, Waycross, GA 31501
Sunday services: 9:00
a.m. & 5
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