Our Gospel Meeting
The time has now arrived for our
gospel meeting. When I first began preaching, “gospel meetings”
such as this one were usually well attended by the members, and visitors from
other congregations came from far and near to hear the gospel preached. They
felt they would hear the gospel of Christ preached clearly, simply and boldly
by a dedicated servant of God. They looked forward to being edified and their
faith strengthened. They even invited their friends who were not members to
come and investigate what was being taught. But this is not the case today.
People are busy with respectable worldly things, things that are not wrong within
themselves, that are often allowed to detract people from “seeking first
the kingdom of God and His righteousness” Matt.6:33.
In this pressurized modern society people are constantly on the go and an opportunity, such as this one, to attend a gospel meeting falls on tired, relatively uninterested ears. When people are encouraged to attend the usual response given for not attending is “Well, I’d like to attend, but I am so busy this week with _______ (you fill in the blank). So they will not come.
But, should it be this way? Do we not have the same problems today as people in past decades, maybe more? Doesn’t our age need the insights and guidance found only in Christ and the word of God? Our day is one of growing tensions in families, more juvenile (and parental) delinquency, more emphasis on materialism and sensualism, and rising crime rates. Today there are more broken homes, more alcoholic and/or dope addicts, more sexual immorality --- and a corresponding neglect of spiritual matters.
We all need to remember that God has not changed, sin has not changed, and man’s needs have not changed. In fact, the need for gospel preaching never changes. People today desperately need to be reminded of the Biblical principles which apply to every situation in life, just as they did in past years. All of us need to be reminded of the brevity as well as the end of life and the judgment to follow. These are reasons enough to come and hear a dedicated, well-prepared man of God who will preach God’s word each night and apply them to the problems of our day. So, why not “MAKE TIME” to attend our gospel meeting for YOUR SAKE?
SO, WHAT WILL THE GOSPEL MEETING DO FOR US? This gospel meeting is not an accident. It is not just some ritual the
church goes through from time to time, rather it is a genuine effort to supplement the teaching program of the church here. It is designed to be a concerted effort to reach out to touch and teach the lost, and build and equip the members of the church for better service.
In order for the meeting to produce the desired results each member must manifest great enthusiasm for the meeting, and determine to be present for each and every service. In addition participate heartily in the singing. During the week talk up the meeting with your friends and acquaintances, and above all pray for those you invite. Pray for the preacher that he may be properly prepared to do that which he has been called to do. So, let’s think about what the gospel meeting can do for each of us this week.
The gospel meeting can challenge our faith in the power of the gospel to save souls. Rom.1:16 reveals where the power lies, and 1.Cor.1:21 affirms that preaching is the method God has chosen to bring the lost to repentance. In this meeting our faith will be tested by our efforts to bring someone to hear the gospel preached. If we fail to invite anyone what does that say about our faith in the gospel to save?
The gospel meeting will give us an opportunity to invite friends and neighbors who meet elsewhere when the regular services are conducted. This meeting makes time available that will not conflict with their normal services. The seed must be planted before it can produce, even so, the heart (the soil into which the gospel is planted) must be made available. The sower is the preacher, the seed is the word of God, and the soil is the heart (mind) of a person. The gospel meeting provides the opportunity for the sower to sow the seed into an honest heart.
The gospel meeting can strengthen our faith. Faith comes through hearing the word of God, Rom.10:17. So many worldly things serve to distract us from listening to God’s word, but here is a way of learning provided by one who has spent extra time preparing to present God’s word. It will also help us all in singing “psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs” in praise to God. Read such passages as 1.Cor.14:15; Eph.5:19; Col.3:16; Heb.13:15 to understand this. Doesn’t it stand to reason then, that one’s faith will be strengthened when one attends and applies what is taught?
The gospel meeting can reinforce our hope. All of us need to have reinforcement from time to time. Hope is the anchor of the soul Heb.6:18-19, and the extended efforts of the gospel meeting conducted nightly, can provide reassurance to us that God will do as He has promised. Our desire and expectation, the two components of hope, will be reinforced by hearing of the faithfulness of God, 1.Cor.1:9; Heb.10:23, as His scheme of redemption unfolds in His Son Jesus Christ.
These are just a few of the things the gospel meeting can do for us, but only if we let it. It will benefit us only when we put forth a concerted effort to be present at every service. Get involved. Take advantage of the time provided for this meeting.
By Thomas Thornhill via Etna Enlightner Vol.1 June 3, 2012 No.17
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