Volume VI, Number 34
In this issue:
Some can be heard complaining that some preachers preach too much on this subject or that subject. The apostle Paul charged the evangelist Timothy “before God and the Lord Jesus Christ who will judge the living and the dead” to “preach the word” (2 Tim. 4:1-2). Urgent preaching reproves, rebukes, exhorts, and fulfills the evangelist’s ministry (2 Tim. 4:2-5). Will he have to often preach on the same topic? Yes, indeed.
The gospel preacher must preach to the need of the moment (2 Tim. 4:2). To “be ready in season and out of season” was described by one astute preacher to mean “preach it when they like it, and preach it when they don’t!” When a preacher does not address the needs of his audience his work is not fulfilled. It is the gospel that saves, but it can only save when it is heard, believed and obeyed by the sinner (Rom. 1:16-17). A preacher can preach truth and yet fail to preach the truth his audience needs to hear! The denominationalist needs to hear about the sin of division and the one true church (1 Cor. 1:10-13; Eph. 4:4). The Calvinist needs to hear about the nature of saving faith and the proper relationship between the sovereignty of God and the freewill of man (Eph. 2:8-9). The one who advocates “faith only” needs to hear of the works of faith (Jas. 2:14-26). The adulterer needs to hear of his/her adultery in order to repent (Jno. 4:17-18). Even though some (yea, most) will not like the message of truth: preach it anyway! Preaching must be relevant to be effective (1 Cor. 1:21; Acts 20:20).
The gospel preacher must preach the whole counsel of God (2 Tim. 4:3-4; Acts 20:27). Just as the apostle predicted, some have grown weary of sound doctrine. And, some preachers have grown weary of preaching it. They tire of the controversy, hardship and rejection. The soft words of “peace, peace” become increasingly attractive to both preacher and audience. But, such results in brethren being ill-equipped to stand in the faith. Sin and error creep in unawares; God’s people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Certainly, preachers must strive for balance in their preaching. Yet, the charge to “preach the word” requires preachers to address the issues of the day (cf. Acts 15:30-32; 16:4). Whether the subject is baptism, the worship, work and organization of the church, divorce and remarriage, fellowship, etc., we must preach all of the truth – and often – for the salvation and edification of souls.
The gospel preacher must seek to persuade men and please God with his preaching (Gal. 1:10). His preaching will be judged, and will either save or condemn him and those who hear him (2 Tim. 4:1; 1 Tim. 4:16). Many will scrutinize and criticize the faithful evangelist. And, many will turn away from the truth to fables by gathering to themselves preachers who scratch their itching ears yet will not “reprove, rebuke, exhort” (2 Tim. 4:2-3).
What does your preacher preach on the most? Is it “the whole counsel of God” or the wisdom and wit of man?
Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.” (Matt. 9:37-38)
The need for laborers in the work of harvesting souls is undeniable. For that matter, so is the fact that every Christian, according to his or her abilities and opportunities, is to be a laborer reaping souls in God’s harvest (Acts 8:4).
The truth is that many Christians need to repent of a lack of work in this area. We need to rededicate our hearts and refocus our attention on trying to reach the lost with the gospel of Christ. We sing, “to the work, to the work,” but too often our lives say, “let somebody else work!”
Allow me to offer some brief encouragements that may help us go into the fields.
1. We must believe that good can be accomplished. If the sower had not believed that a crop would grow, he would not have gone “forth to sow his seed” (Lk. 8:5). (If Jesus had not been convinced that good would result from coming to earth and dying on the cross we would have no means of being saved. This boils down to a matter of faith on our part.) We must trust that the Lord will bless the sending forth of His word. “So shall my word...not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it" (Isa. 55:11).
2. We must be willing to give our resources to the work. I am not talking money. I am talking about things like our time, our energy, our prayers. We have to be willing to make time to visits prospects, to arrange Bible classes with them, and to study the Bible in order to equip ourselves to teach them. The demands upon your time will be greater when you commit yourself to spreading the gospel. This is a matter of expending your energy toward your goal. But remember the energy of the apostle Paul as he worked night and day to meet his physical needs while also being diligent to fully teach the word of God (1 Ths. 2:9; Acts 20:19-21,26-27). One will have to sacrifice some comfort in order to do the work of spreading the gospel.
3. We must be willing to let God give the increase of souls (1 Cor. 3:6). It can be discouraging when one is repeatedly told “no, I am not interested” when trying to teach the gospel. It may feel as if you are the one being rejected, but do not take it personally. In fact, it is God and Christ whom people reject (1 Sam. 8:7; Jno. 6:60, 66). We must understand that our work is to plant the seed. Do not become discouraged when someone is not interested, when progress seems too slow, or when it may appear that nothing is being accomplished. Satan loves to discourage those who do the Lord’s work! As the apostle has exhorted, “And let us not be weary in well-doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not" (Gal. 6:9). Remember, it is the Lord’s harvest (Matt. 9:38).
Jesus saw the straying multitudes and was moved to compassion for them (Matt. 9:35-38). Their need compelled Him to work. Likewise, He calls upon us to be conscious of the condition of the people around us (they are lost in sin); to have compassion for them (be distressed to the point of action); and to be committed laborers in His harvest (praying and working).
The work is before us. The call to labor is clear. With Isaiah, will we say (as we often sing), “Here am I, send me" (Isa. 6:8)?
You can find the complete outline of this sermon at BIBLE ANSWERS
God's Eternal Plan (Part 1)
Scripture Reading: Ephesians 3:8-13
God’s eternal purpose has been called the Scheme of Redemption (plan to save us from our sins).
I. WE NEEDED GOD TO REVEAL HIS
ETERNAL PLAN TO US.
You can find the complete outline of this sermon at BIBLE ANSWERS
The First Day of the Week
Scripture Reading: Psalms 118:19-29
Why do we hold Sunday as the scripturally authorized day for worship? Has God specified a time element (day) for the church to “come together” for worship? How can we be sure?
What is the significance of the 1st day of the week?
I. THE 1st DAY OF
THE WEEK: THE LORD’S DAY.
II. FIRST DAY OF THE WEEK:
“THE DAY THE LORD HAS MADE”
– Psa. 118:22-24.
III. IN THE NT, THE FIRST DAY OF THE WEEK IS THE SPECIFIED DAY ON WHICH DISCIPLES ASSEMBLED TO WORSHIP.
Lord’s Supper was Eaten on First Day of the Week – Acts 20:7 (2:42; 20:11;
2:46); 1 Cor. 11:20-22, 33-34.
Last week we reported that the Mormon Church was likely to excommunicate one of their members, Thomas Murphy, for discrediting the Book of Mormons claim that American Indians are descendants of ancient Israel through his genetic research. He has written that to believe American Indians came from Israel (as the Book of Mormon indicates) is tantamount “to claiming the earth is flat.”
Now we learn that Mr. Murphy’s disciplinary hearing has been indefinitely postponed (Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Dec. 8, 2002). So were the candlelight vigils which were planned in Lynnwood, WA (where the hearing was to be held), and at other places around the country. But, a protest was held last Sunday at the church’s headquarters in Salt Lake City, Utah. It seems public opinion has once again pressured the LDS Church into silence (if not change).
This is nothing new. The LDS Church has a history of bowing to the pressures of public opinion and/or political realities. After decades of plain statements by Church officials and apostles that the practice of plural wives would “never be done away” (Heber C. Kimball, First Counselor to Brigham Young, Deseret News, Nov. 7, 1855), the LDS Church bowed to external pressure and ceased the practice of polygamy. Statehood for Utah hung in the balance. In 1890, the revelation known as the Manifesto was issued by Wilford Woodruff (President of the LDS Church). It said in part: “Inasmuch as laws have been enacted by Congress forbidding plural marriages, which laws have been pronounced constitutional by the court of last resort, I hereby declare my intention to submit to those laws, and to use my influence with the members of the Church over which I preside to have them do likewise.” The laws of men prevailed over the principles of the “everlasting gospel” (cf. Acts 5:29)! Today, polygamists are excommunicated by the Mormon Church. Again, in 1978 a “revelation” was given enabling male, black Mormons to receive the priesthood. Society pressured, God spoke and the Church changed!
Is a similar thing now happening in the case of Mr. Murphy? He hopes the postponement “means it’s now OK to speak about the Book of Mormon as a work of 19th century fiction” (Seattle P-I article, Dec. 8, 2002). The evidence has always shown the Book of Mormon to be fiction! Will the millions who have been deceived finally open their eyes and see that any church which bows to the will and wishes of men is not the church of Jesus Christ? (Acts 5:29; Gal. 1:10) We hope and pray they will.
Created by Chuck Sibbing. 12/14/2002
The Spirit's Sword is a free, weekly publication
of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA