Know Your Bible

VOL. 11                                                                                                                                                             June 10, 2012                                                                                                                                                                NO. 20



Within our congregation some of the men meet ever so often to plan out our future gospel meetings for the congregation. During these meeting we discuss the most appropriate topics to have and the correct speaker to fit each subject matter. We've had a good amount of discussion lately over why people do not attend services as well as the lack of interest in any work of the church. In trying to find the best topics to fight this on going problem we have come to the conclusion that people find little or no value in God. They do not see the importance in worshipping him. We have come to this conclusion by comparing our efforts to outside examples. People put a tremendous amount of time and effort into the things that are important to them. These activities vary from person to person but they all show the same signs of value in their lives.

Take for instance any sport. Those that are involved in or enjoy sports, tend to put forth a large amount of effort to making them the best they can. They want the field to be in the best shape possible with the grass cut, the bleachers clean, trash removed from the parking lot and grounds. They want the participants to be dressed appropriately and they want them to act respectfully as well as the players being fully prepared for what they must do. Most fans come thinking they will have a good enriching time because the players have put forth a lot of effort to be at their best and ready to give it their all. None of these individuals do these things or expect this quality because they don't care about sports, but instead they find value in having a sport and a place to have a game as well as putting the amount of time in to make it the best it can be. There is not a sport that can be executed without a tremendous amount of effort and care from all who are involved. Another example could include any hobby, school function, play or production, even something as simple as a birthday party. People care about these things and they put themselves wholly to the task of making them the best they can.

The problem us men were having with our discussion was that we saw little of this enthusiasm when it came to worshipping the Lord. People would come dressed inappropriately; more often individuals would dress better if they were going to a ball game than they would to come to services. Men would come unprepared to lead singing or to bring a short talk, even though their names had been posted for a month or longer. Ladies would not bring the things they need to take care of the Lord's Supper or they would come so late they would be an interruption to Bible class while bringing it out. The building is never as clean as any lady would demand their own home to be, let alone the house of God. The yard and the appearance of the building never stayed to the quality it should be. We all know that usually these task fall on the shoulders of a very few to keep things as they should be, and becomes hard for those individuals to watch when these things are not done properly when delegated out.

As men of the congregation we wondered why some of these same people would never miss a game or how they could put so much effort into something at school. We have even gone to some of their homes for a party or get together and you could see they had spent days maybe even weeks preparing for an event that would last only hours, but three hours a week serving God seemed to be such drudgery to them.

Our conclusion had to be that people found little or no value in God. If they did, their attitude would be closer to that of David's when he said, "I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the LORD" (Psalms 122:1).

I know this sounds overly harsh but there is a difference between caring enough to be somewhere and putting forth the amount of effort and energy to make something the best it can be. Rev 3:15-16 makes the same point that I am making. These people are lukewarm. They can not be classified as cold, because they care enough to be at services. They can not however be classified as hot because they do not put forth the effort to be called as such, so they fall into the lukewarm category. We all know by this passage that God said He would spew these individuals out.

So we, as the men of the congregation, were worried and decided that a lack of value was the problem and that we needed lessons to show why God should be valuable in our sight. Some points that we thought to be profitable were these: He has provided Salvation. He is a loving Father who listens and provides for us. He has created us a family that spreads the globe. He provides for us daily. He answers our prayers.

There are so many more than these and only through a study of God's word will we truly see His value. The more I study the more I am in awe at what He has done for us. By studying the Old Testament I have come to appreciate His need to punish, as well. It is hard to take being wrong or rebuked but I find value when His word does that to me as well. God does so much for each of us for us to, in turn, show Him that we value Him so little. When we don't put forth our best efforts into serving Him, we not only show Him that He means so little to us but we show others also. People of the world take notice when we put so little value in serving God. We will never be able to teach them the importance of God and being obedient to Him if they see His lack of value in us. God, His word, and the work that He has given us to do should be held as the most valuable parts of each of our live

---Verlin Cox

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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.                                      

---Tommy Thornhill

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