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).
September 9, 1990


1) Words (Tom Edwards)
Have You Ever Known Anyone Like This? (Gary Womack)


by Tom Edwards

What would life be like without communication? It is one of the avenues that can challenge us, stimulate us, and help us to explore new realms of ideas, to gain insight, and to also share our own interesting perspectives.  Through the agency of words our world can be further developed and our horizon broadened. Often it is because of a lack of this that many relationships cease to grow and are consequently impaired. Husbands and wives need to keep open the proper channels of communication, not only with themselves, but also with their children and others around them.

Being able to express her ideas and to have others impart knowledge to her, made the dark and silent world of Helen Keller a brighter place in which to dwell and enabled her to hear of many helpful and fascinating concepts. It was communication, the ability to link up with another in thought and understanding, that helped young Helen to replace her fitful and chaotic ways with serenity and an organized creativity.

Words can serve as a manifestation of one's inner being. Jesus states in Matthew 12:34 that "out of the heart the mouth speaks...." and also shows of the need to have the proper heart for this in Matthew 12:35-37; the passage reads: "A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things. But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned."

One doesn't have to be as wise as Solomon to realize that "A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver" (Prov.  25:11). Consider also the following by this great wisdom writer: "Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression, but a good word makes it glad" (Prov. 12:25). "A man has joy by the answer of his mouth, and a word spoken in due season, how good it is" (Prov. 15:23). "The thoughts of the wicked are an abomination to the Lord, but the words of the pure our pleasant" (Prov. 15:26). "Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the bones" (Prov. 16:24). The apostle Paul, in writing to the Colossian brethren, states: "Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one" (Col. 4:6).

Dee Bowman makes some interesting remarks concerning good communication and why many today have not excelled in this area. The following is an excerpt from one of his articles in Christianity Today, February 1990: "A good conversationalist relies on the truth and has no time at all for that which is not documentable. He extends civility and courtesy to those involved in conversation with him by listening carefully and with interest. He does not question the motives of his participants nor seek to intimidate them or make them in any way uncomfortable.  He does not make more of their statements than they would agree to.  He is careful of their feelings, but is candid and open when he objects...Great conversation, once thought to be a supreme delight, has fallen into disuse and is almost a thing of the past. Conversation today is mostly one-sided and requires little skill, due mainly to the popularity of television. Most people today are listeners at best and viewers at worst.  Consequently the skill required to be a good conversationalist is restricted by a lack of experience. Vocabulary, logical deduction, semantics, fidelity of reproduction have all suffered from the lack of stimulating conversation. Furthermore, disagreements today can cause almost irreparable breaches because of a failure to discuss things and, thus, bring about a common understanding of terms as well as a satisfactory explanation of motives. It is hard to accuse a man of poor motives or question his integrity when you must look him in the eye to do it."

We need to each strive to develop in the art of communication, realizing that part of this consists of not just being the painter who uses the proper strokes to add just the right definition with his palette of words, but also in being the canvas of a good listener.

Yes, the world is filled with such a wide variety of fascinating subjects to discuss, but let us not forget the most important message of all -- the word of the Lord, as revealed within the Sacred Volume. This is the gospel message that has the power to change the eternal destiny of one's life -- a revelation that manifests the way to heaven above, and a message that imparts joy and comfort to the heedful believer while living in this world below. As the apostle Paul wrote to the Roman brethren, "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes....(Rom.  1:16). Why not allow God to communicate to you this day through His Divine word? He can change your life. Now isn't that something worth talking about?


Have You Ever Known Anyone Like This?
by Gary Womack

Mom and dad arrived at the football stadium after a hair-raising race through traffic only to discover the game already in progress. The children grudgingly entered the stadium with their parents who were little more enthusiastic than they. They sat on the back row, thankful that all of the front seats at the 50 yard line were filled. (They never liked to sit where they felt like they were being watched.) They didn't pay attention to the game. They were too busy playing with the baby on the row in front of them for such trivial things as the game. Besides, they felt that this was the best time to trim their fingernails, talk to one another, and read the program that was handed to them at the gate. They didn't participate with the fans in the cheering either. In general, they felt the time was a boring waste.

On the way home, they complained about the "lousy game" and the fact that they didn't get anything out of it. In fact, they were not sure who played in the game. They had quite a lot to say about Mr. Hypocrite who sat next to them, like how he never lets anybody know he's a football fan except when he goes to the game (and then he out-shouts everybody else). "Not only that," they complained, "he NEVER came over to teach us the game or invite us to go to the game with him." They also complained about how hot the stadium was, how hard the benches were, and how long the game lasted. They vowed not to go back to that stadium to see another game because the referees were too narrow-minded.  (They think their rules are the only ones and everybody else is wrong.) It sure would be good to get home and relax after such a boring experience.  At least the whole day wasn't wasted -- they could watch TV the rest of the day.

Unrealistic, isn't it? Have you ever known anyone like this? If you had, undoubtedly you would have thought them to be quite strange.  I wonder how strange some "church fans" look to God?

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