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. 28:19,20).
March 18, 1990


1) Jesus -- "The Begotten" (Tom Edwards)
2) Sixteen Sentence Sermons (selected)
3) Be Prepared! (Tom Edwards)


Jesus -- "The Begotten"
by Tom Edwards

Recently we have seen that the idea of Christ being the "first-born" simply expresses His SUPREME, EXALTED position over all things; and it in no way detracts from the awesomeness of His great, eternal nature.

Perhaps, however, some people still become confused over the concept of Jesus being the "begotten." John 3:16 so movingly declares, "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life."

Through the course of procreation, the woman conceives and the man begets. As C. S. Lewis once defined it, "To beget is to become the father of." And in a sense, God BECAME the Father of Jesus.

Considering the physical body of the Lord, we must say that God literally is the begetter of this. Without the aid of human intervention, the virgin Mary conceived by the Holy Spirit that Divine Child which she later bore; and, in this sense, Jesus truly was the ONLY begotten Son of God. In today's lesson, however, let us concentrate on Christ's relationship to the Father even prior to His incarnation.

Concerning this, Hebrews 1:5 states, "...I WILL BE a Father to Him, and He SHALL BE a Son to Me" (emphasis mine). Both the terms "will be" and "shall be" indicate something that had not yet been, but would be in the future. God WOULD BECOME a Father to Jesus, and Jesus WOULD BECOME a Son to the Father. Therefore, there was a time when the Father and Son relationship began.

In any father and son relationship we realize the need for the son to be in subjection to the father. How fitting this illustration is in expressing Jesus' relationship while on earth to God in heaven.  Just as a son must learn to obey; Jesus, too, "learned obedience through the things which He suffered" (Heb. 5:8). His role on earth was to "always do" that which was "pleasing" to His Father (John 8:29) -- and thus He did.

What a dramatic change for the Son of God! His limitless compassion for the lost souls of men had prompted Him to leave the glories of heaven in order to come to the rescue of a world dying in sin. He was more concerned for others than Himself, as we also see expressed in Philippians 2:6-8: "who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross." What a noble, daring, and humble transformation this was -- when the Word became flesh and dwelt among us full of grace and truth (John 1:14) and ultimately made the propitiatory sacrifice for the sins of the world.

The apostle John refers to Jesus in his pre-incarnate state as simply the "Word" who "was with God" and "was God" (John 1:1-3); being born into this world, however, caused Christ to experience a different kind of relationship to God in heaven.

The idea of sonship well depicts Christ's submissive role while on earth to His Father above. In this relationship, Jesus humbly served the Father by obeying His every command; and by His full allegiance to the will of the Father, the Lord made it possible that we, too, can become the "begotten" of God -- if we will humbly obey the Lord's righteous requirements.


Sixteen Sentence Sermons

When you have nothing left but God, you begin to learn that God is enough.

Pick your friends, but not to pieces.

It's been observed that many people use mighty thin thread when mending their ways.

The world is full of people who are making a good living but living poor lives.

Life is tragic for the person who has plenty to live on but nothing to live for.

One can be too big for God to use, but one can never be too small.

To hatch despair, simply brood over your troubles.

The empty tomb proves Christianity; the empty pew denies it.

A gem cannot be polished without friction, nor can a Christian be perfected without adversity.

Do what you can, where you are, and with what you have.

Only the dictionary puts "success" before "work."

No matter how long you nurse a grudge it won't get better.

When a person is wrapped up in himself, he makes a very small parcel.

Don't grumble because you don't have what you want; be thankful you don't get what you deserve.

If you find life empty, try putting something into it.

When life knocks you to your knees, you are then in the best position to pray.


Be Prepared!

by Tom Edwards

I appreciated Fred's recent invitation talk in which he had stressed the need for a person to be prepared and not just wait until the last minute before making ready.

Preparation is important. How many preachers would do a thorough job on a Bible subject if they waited until they got behind the pulpit before considering what to preach? Should we who lead singing take the time to select our songs prior to coming to church? Is there not a need for the one giving the invitation talk to give serious thought to his subject prior to the night of his delivery?  Will we get just as much out of our classes, if we never do the assignments?

The Bible speaks of the need to BE PREPARED. Paul states in Romans 1:15, "...I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome...." Actually, this term "ready" means to be "willing, eager, zealous" (Bullinger); but certainly part of the preparation towards sharing the gospel with others is having the willingness and the zeal to do so.

Paul "thought it necessary to urge the brethren" in 2 Corinthians 9:5 "that they would go on ahead...and arrange beforehand" the "promised bountiful gift, that the same might be READY" (emphasis mine). Here the Greek word translated as "ready" means "at hand, ready, prepared"; and, therefore, indicates the need for preparation.

This same Greek word is also used in Titus 3:1. In this passage, Paul exhorts Titus to "Remind them to be subject to rulers and authorities, to obey, TO BE READY FOR EVERY GOOD WORK" (emphasis mine).

If observing the activities which the Bible authorizes is not a good work then there is no need to prepare; but if it is, then how can we be pleasing to God unless we make the proper preparation that will help us to "grow in the grace and knowledge" of Jesus Christ (2 Pet. 3:18)?

Brethren, may we always BE PREPARED!

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 3:18).
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; for, if not, salvation can be lost (Heb. 10:36-39; Rev. 2:10; 2 Pet. 2:20-22).

First published for the Tri-state church of Christ in Ashland, Kentucky, at 713 13th Street.
evangelist/editor: Tom Edwards