Many are concerned with the numbers on the attendance chart. Many are concerned with the number of baptism’s the congregation has had in the past. Many are concerned with things that they truly cannot control. Those that are true and caring Christians they want to seek and save the lost. This is of course what Christ our perfect example was doing in his ministry. (Luke 19:10) “For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.”
We must however, recognize the sentiments of the inspired apostle Paul. (I Corinthians 1:17-18) “For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect. For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.” The simple fact that Paul points out is that he is a preacher. While recognizing the Great Commission we must want to baptize, our first goal is to preach.
We are sowers that are sent to plant the seeds. (Luke 8:11-15) “Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. Those by the way side are they that hear; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved. They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away. And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection. But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience.” (Reference Matt 13:3-23, Mark 4:2-20, or Luke 8:4-15 for the full account of this parable.) The seed is the word of God, we are to plant that seed, and as a farmer would his field, we nurture it and hope it grows. We cannot make people follow Christ in the pattern of the New Testament. We to fulfill the Great Commission. (Matthew 28:19-20) “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” Notice that we are to teach and then baptize. Mark chapter sixteen makes a point of which we need to always remember. (Mark 16:15-16) “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.” The fact that we baptize those that believe, and those that do not believe cannot be baptized, and they are damned.
We must remember that in our efforts to preach the Gospel of Christ we cannot sway from the truths contained therein. Many watch the attendance and instead of continuing to preach the Gospel they think of ways to be pleasing to men. God does not want us to please men. (Galatians 1:10) “For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.” In our efforts to seek and save we must remember first and foremost that we are to preach the Gospel at all times, in and out of season. (II Timothy 4:1-2) “I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.” We are surely commanded to preach. (Acts 10:42) “And he commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is he which was ordained of God to be the Judge of quick and dead.” You must preach to a person before they can get close to the faith that is needed to baptize them. (Romans 10:14) “How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?” Remember that we must preach to save!
By Bryan Yeager
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