This Week's Gospel Sermons
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October 17, 2010
Ingredients of aGood Gospel Meeting
Like a good casserole or dessert,there are some ingredients that make for a good gospel meeting.
Good Preparation. Anything worth doing or having is worth preparing for. Good preparation begins well in advance of the meeting with deciding the purpose of the meeting, selecting the speaker(s), setting a date, preparing the meeting house, and advertising the meeting.
Good Atmosphere. Like restaurants, every church has an atmosphere — good or bad. A good atmosphere in the local church is one where: people have a genuine love for the Lord and one another (Mt. 22:37-39), folks are greeted warmly (2 Cor. 13:12), a deep respect for God and His word are shown (Mal. 1:11), folks are enthused about hearing and knowing the will of God (Acts 10:24, 33; 17:11), members arrive early and stay late, there are no complaints and criticisms — just compliments and contentment (Rom. 16; Eph. 4:29), and where folks are given to hospitality (Rom. 12:13).
Good Attendance. Good attendance begins with every member being at every service (Mt. 6:33; Heb. 10:25). Inviting and bringing others to the meeting contributes to a good meeting (John 4:29-30; 1:42).
Good Singing. Where brethren “sing aloud unto God” (Psalm 81:1), “with all their might” (1 Chronicles 13:8), there is good singing.
Good Preaching. Just being a good speaker doesn’t make one a good preacher (Romans 16:18; 1Corinthians 2:1-5). Good preaching is Christ-centered, Scripture-filled, nothing-kept-back, reproving-rebuking-exhorting, gospel preaching (Acts 8:5,35; 20:20; 2 Tim. 4:2; Rom. 1:16).
Good Follow-Up. A subsequent letter, phone call, or visit increases the effectiveness of a meeting.
— John Isaac Edwards
Five Words toFoster Faithfulness
To the Smyrna saints the Lord said,“… be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life” (Rev. 2:10). Here are five spiritual words to encourage us to greater faithfulness in the Lord’s service.
Abide. As disciples of Christ, our relationship with the Lord is like that of a branch and vine (Jn. 15:1-8). Jesus is the Vine. We are the branches. The appeal is for us to abide — some form of the word “abide” occurs 7 times in these 8 verses. Abiding in Christ enables us to be fruitful (vv. 4-5), results in answered prayers (v. 7), causes God to be glorified (v. 8), and proves our discipleship (v. 8). Those who fail to abide become lifeless (v. 5), are cast out (v. 6), and will be thrown into the fire and burned (v. 6). “And now, little children, abide in Him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming” (1 Jn. 2:28).
Cleave. When Barnabas arrived in Antioch, he “exhorted them all, that with purpose of heart they would cleave unto the Lord” (Acts 11:23). To cleave is to cling or adhere to. In the Old Testament, those who did not cleave to the Lord were destroyed by the Lord (Dt. 4:1-4; Num. 25:1-9). Appeals were often made to the Lord’s people to cleave unto the Lord (Dt. 10:20).
Continue. The ardent appeal of the Lord and His apostles was for Christians to continue. “If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed” (John 8:31). “As the Father hath loved me, so I have loved you; continue ye in my love” (John 15:9). “Paul and Barnabas: who, speaking to them, persuaded them to continue in the grace of God” (Acts 13:43). “… continue in his goodness …” (Rom. 11:22). “… continue in the faith …” (Col. 1:23). “But continue thou …” (2 Tim. 3:14).
Endure. Where lawlessness abounds, love grows cold. “But he who endures to the end shall be saved” (Mt. 24:12-13). In the Parable of the Sower, the stony ground represented those who “endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word’s sake, immediately they are offended” (Mk. 4:17). It’s not enough for us to endure for a time — we must endure unto the end!
Hold. The Hebrew writer penned, “Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)” (Heb. 10:23). Imagine yourself in the midst of a large sea. A ship has come by and you’re thrown a rope to safety. You are holding firmly to the rope, lest you perish. We must hold to the Lord with everything we have, never letting go!
The crown of life is promised to the faithful. May we show ourselves faithful in the execution of the Lord’s commands!
— John Isaac Edwards