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).
April 18, 1990
1) The Word FROM God (Tom Edwards)
2) Remaining Within the Shelter of God's Love (Tom Edwards)
The Word FROM God
by Tom Edwards
A prominent editor of a London newspaper once sent to one hundred of
his peers a simple questionnaire, which asked, "Suppose you were sent
to prison for three years and could only take three books with you.
Which three would you choose? Please state them in order of their
importance." Those responding were members of parliament, university
professors, authors, and merchants. Most of them were irreligious and
only a few had been church-goers; some were agnostics or atheists; yet
ninety-eight percent of them had put the same book on their list as the
one they would want to take above any other -- it was the Bible.
To the Christian, God's word can truly give the greatest cheer and the
utmost assurance even in the darkest and most troublesome times.
This great message, however, needs to be more than just the most
important book that resides in our library -- its contents must also be
the most important teaching that we treasure in our hearts and conform
to with our lives.
Is this true, though, with us? Do we examine God's word as we
should? or has our own laziness deceived us into thinking that
Bible study is too much of a chore? I suppose man is often reluctant to
begin that which he feels is too big of a task. But is Bible study too
According to Eleanor Doan, "It takes 70 hours and 40 minutes to read
the Bible at pulpit rate...In the Old Testament the Psalms take the
longest to read: 4 hours and 28 minutes. In the New Testament the
Gospel of Luke takes 2 hours and 43 minutes." A church in Scotland
reported it read the Bible non-stop in 62 hours and 55 minutes.
I was just looking at the page numbers in some of the Bibles I have in
my study. Naturally, these vary because of their size, whether they're
annotated or not, or whether they contain other references or not. Four
of them, which included not much more than the basic text, averaged
1210 pages. To read all of this in 70 hours, you would only have to
read about 17.28 pages an hour. Unless you're a speed reader, you
probably read normally at about twenty to thirty pages an hour. If you,
therefore, read at 20 pages an hour, you could finish the entire Bible
in 60 hours. If you read at twenty-five pages an hour, you could
complete the Scriptures in roughly 48 hours. And if your average
reading-speed is 30 pages an hour, you could complete the Bible in
almost 40 hours.
If you have never read all of the Scriptures, I would like to encourage
you to do so. Doesn't it seem rather unusual that there are actually
portions of GOD'S WORD that many people have just not taken the time to
read? Think about it -- It's a message to you, not from the mayor or
from the governor or from the president of the United States, but A
WORD FROM THE ALMIGHTY, ETERNAL GOD HIMSELF; yet some people have just
not been interested enough to hear. We need to take the time to listen
to ALL of what God has to say. The Bible is replete with many
fascinating stories that will help you to understand more about the
Lord and increase your faith in Him. These are just some of the reasons
why God has given us His word. As Paul told the Roman brethren, "For
whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction,
that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we
might have hope" (Rom. 14:4). Why not start reading the message FROM
Remaining Within the Shelter of God's Love
by Tom Edwards
There is a remarkable, little spider in South America that has its home
in an underwater environment. By developing a "bubble-hut" about
itself, which serves as a miniature diving bell, this small,
air-breathing creature is able to submerge to the bottom of a lake,
pond, or river. While within its underwater abode, the tiny spider can
remain for hours, breathing the much needed air brought from above that
had been entrapped within its spherical shelter.
Amazingly, when this unusual resident of the aquatic world surfaces, it
is found to be completely dry. Even the slightest amounts of moisture
have not been able to penetrate the impervious, transparent wall of its
underwater home; and though this tiny creature spends much of its life
submerged, it is able to remain separate and untouched from its
How suitably this illustrates the relationship the Christian is to have
to the world: though living in it, he is not to be engulfed by its
torrents of sin; but, rather, he must stay within the safe shelter of
God's protective care. For this, Jesus compassionately prayed in the
following manner: "I do not ask in behalf of these alone, but for those
also who believe in Me through their word; that they may all be one;
even as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that THEY ALSO MAY BE
IN US...." (John 17:20,21, emphasis mine).
Though living in the world, the faithful Christian truly abides in
Christ and has the responsibility toward reflecting the Lord's
illumination in even the most remote regions of darkness. As he strives
in doing this, he must be cautious that his light does not flicker or
become snuffed out by the extinguishing power of sin. For if this
occurs, his influence becomes marred -- darkened by the reproachable
character of iniquity. The Christian must strive to keep himself
untainted from the world (James 1:27), for he is now dwelling in a new,
sacred environment in which wickedness is not allowed to either flood
or trickle in. Colossians 1:13 gloriously proclaims that Christ
has "delivered us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to
the kingdom of His beloved Son...." In order, though, for us to
continually dwell in the kingdom of God, we must never cease to obey
His word; for it is only in this way that we can abide in Christ (John
It was the fault of some of the angels long ago to "not keep their own
domain"; but, rather, they had abandoned their "proper abode." As a
consequence, they are presently being "kept in eternal bonds under
darkness for the judgment of the great day" (Jude 6). May we who are
Christians, however, learn to truly appreciate this heavenly kingdom in
which we safely dwell and not be as those who foolishly wandered from
their appointed habitat. The borders of the Christian's realm are
delineated within the holy pages of God's word, and it is within this
spiritual domain that we can gain access to the Father and commune with
Him in the sanctuary of His Mighty Fortress.
James, the Lord's half-brother, writes: "This is pure and undefiled
religion in the sight of our God and Father, to visit orphans and
widows in their distress, and to KEEP ONESELF UNSTAINED BY THE WORLD"
(James 1:27; emphasis mine). Let us remember the little spider who
remained safe within the confines of its underwater domain; for it to
have left its life-sustaining shelter while submerged in that aquatic
environment would have only led to death. In like manner, spiritual
death exists anywhere outside of the realm of God's kingdom. Every
sinner must "flee from the wrath to come" by entering, through the door
of humble obedience, the Lord's kingdom of mercy and safety.
May we each strive to always abide within this wonderful shelter of
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;
can be lost (Heb. 10:36-39; Rev. 2:10; 2 Pet.
First published for the Tri-state church of Christ in Ashland,
Kentucky, at 713 13th Street.
evangelist/editor: Tom Edwards