"Then I said, I will not make mention of Him, Nor speak anymore in His name." But His word was in my heart like a burning fire Shut up in my bones; I was weary of holding it back, And I could not.'" (Jeremiah 20:9).
Do we have a fire in our bones to preach God's Word? There is no doubt that the Christians in the first century had it. But it seems that much of the Lord's church has lost that burning zeal. What should we do?
I. WE NEED TO RESTRUCTURE OUR PRIORITIES.
A. Our number one goal should be to take the saving message of the gospel to the lost.
1. Mark 16:15
2. This was Paul's life and strength
a. Acts 21:13 - Then Paul answered, "What do you mean by weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus."
b. Acts 24:25 - Now as he reasoned about righteousness, self-control, and the judgment to come, Felix was afraid and answered, "Go away for now; when I have a convenient time I will call for you."
c. Romans 1:15 - So, as much as is in me, I am ready to preach the gospel to you who are in Rome also.
3. Paul was willing to be lost himself in order that others might be saved.
a. Romans 9:3 - For I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my countrymen according to the flesh,
B. Some examples from other Christians in the first century.
1. The apostles
a. Acts 6:3 - "Therefore, brethren, seek out from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business; "but we will give ourselves continually to prayer and to the ministry of the word."
2. Even these men chosen to "wait on table" were evangelistic minded.
a. Stephen - Acts 7
b. Philip - Acts 8
3. But it wasn't just apostles, elders, or deacons who felt an urgency to preach the gospel.
a. Acts 8:4 - Therefore those who were scattered went everywhere preaching the word.
C. Preaching the teaching the Word must be a continuing process.
1. Matthew 28:18-19
2. 2 Timothy 2:2 - And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.
3. Congregations all across our land are dwindling because they have not continued to take the gospel to the lost of their communities.
D. Everything we do should be done with evangelism in mind.
1. The Bible School - Why do we have a Bible School?
a. To reach out to others. Both children and adults.
b. To strengthen Christians to go out to teach the lost.
2. Visitation - Why do we visit? With the goal of saving lost souls.
3. Benevolence - Why do we carry on benevolence.
a. While we never turn down someone who is genuinely in need, we must always carry on benevolence with reaching the lost in mind.
b. There should never be a person who receives help from us that should not get an invitation, receive a tract, a visit, etc.
c. When we feed them with physical food, they will hunger again. When we feed them with the bread of life, they shall never hunger again (John 6:35).
II. THE WORK OF THE LORD SHOULD BE A MULTIPLYING MINISTRY
A. Multiplies intent.
1. Our message should be to every creature
2. Acts 1:8 - "But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth."
a. The apostles considered this worldwide commission seriously, do we?
3. There is no magic number of disciples.
a. Any goal we have is only a stepping stone to further growth.
b. There is never a time when we are "big enough."
B. Multiplies opportunities.
1. Acts 5:42 - And daily in the temple, and in every house, they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ.
2. The Bible teaches us to pray for these opportunities.
a. Colossians 4:3 - meanwhile praying also for us, that God would open to us a door for the word, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in chains,
C. Multiplies time.
1. Teaching daily
2. The first century church had daily results because they had daily teaching.
a. Acts 2:47 - praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.
D. Multiplied numbers of persons working to reach the lost.
1. Acts 8:4
2. Matthew 28:18-20
3. Hebrews 5:12 - For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food.
CONCLUSION: Louis Pasteur, the pioneer of immunology, lived at a time when thousands of people died each year of rabies. Pasteur had worked for years on a vaccine. Just as he was about to begin experimenting on himself, a 9-year-old, Joseph Meister, was bitten by a rabid dog. The boy's mother begged Pasteur to experiment on her son. Pasteur injected Joseph for ten days--and the boy lived. Decades later, of all the things Pasteur could have had etched on his headstone, he asked for three wordds: JOSEPH MEISTER LIVED. Our greatest legacy will be those who live eternally because of our efforts.
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