And take…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:17
Volume XI, Number 51 November 23, 2008
In this issue:
A man called me one day to tell me I had been in his dream the previous night. As it turned out, I had met this man about four years earlier through a radio program I was hosting at the time. We had several Bible discussions and I gave him some audio tapes of the program. He had called to tell me he was still listening to those tapes four years later. (While listening to one of them he fell asleep and hence, the dream with me in it.) This got me to thinking about the nature and power of influence.
1. Our influence works even when we do not know it. Even though you may not think about it and take it for granted, rest assured that your influence is at work every day. Because you are a Christian you must always be the salt of the earth and the light of the world (Matt. 5:13-16). What type of influence are you having as a parent; as a husband or a wife; as a neighbor; as a friend; as a brother or sister in Christ? Your influence is at work even when you least expect it. Just as the effect of salt lingers in the flavor of the food once seasoned, the things you do and say today will influence others for years to come. Solomon said, “The memory of the righteous is blessed” (Prov. 10:7; cf. Heb. 11:4). Are others blessed when they remember you?
2. The importance of developing a godly influence cannot be overstated. Each one of us makes an impact on the people around us. So, we must cultivate the qualities of heart and life that show Christ to them. Is it said of you that you are a devout, generous, God-fearing person with a good reputation (Acts 10:1-2, 22)? Even an influence that has been damaged by sin can be changed through repentance and the good fruit it produces (cf. Paul, Gal. 1:22-24; 1 Cor. 15:9-10). So, remember to work on improving your good influence.
3. Protect your influence. It is sobering to think how easily a good name and influence can be destroyed by sinful words and deeds. Consider carefully the impact your attitudes, your choices, your words and your deeds have on others. To disregard your influence can cause great hurt and sorrow to many, including yourself. So, be careful; what you say and do today will carry an influence that your name will be attached to for years to come. Be sure the influence attached to your name is godly (cf. Prov. 22:1).
Do not forget your influence. Others are watching you; what are they seeing? (Gal. 2:20; 1 Pet. 2:11-12)
(The Kaysville Herald, Nov. 1, 1992
An evangelist announces the gospel (euaggelion, good news); that is his work. He must do his work without shame or fear (Rom. 1:15-16; 2 Tim. 1:7-9).
Paul charged Timothy before God and the Lord Jesus Christ to “Preach the word!” and reminded him what this requires: “Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching” (2 Tim. 4:2). Paul further exhorted Timothy (and every faithful evangelist) to “be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry” (2 Tim. 4:5). You are a minister of Christ to serve his people (Col. 1:7). Therefore, you must know your work and faithfully accomplish it.
1) The work of an evangelist is practical. Gospel preaching is not speculative, conjectural or theoretical. Such preaching leads to the ruin of the hearers, not their edification (2 Tim. 2:14; 1 Tim. 1:3-4). Preaching must be urgent: preach what people need to hear when they need to hear it (2 Tim. 4:2; Acts 24:25).
2) The work of an evangelist requires preparation. To “preach the word” one must know the word. Fellow evangelist, be a diligent Bible student (2 Tim. 2:15). The Bible is your sermon outline book! Good Bible study habits equip you to do your work and fulfill your ministry (see 1 Tim. 4:13-15). Give time and attention to learning and growing in your Bible knowledge. Then you will be prepared to “instruct the brethren in these things” and “be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished in the words of faith and of the good doctrine” of Christ (1 Tim. 4:6).
3) The work of an evangelist requires personal purity. He carefully follows the gospel in his personal life (1 Tim. 4:6; 2 Tim. 3:10). He flees lust, pursues righteousness and keeps his heart pure (1 Tim. 6:11; 2 Tim. 2:19-22). He is an example to believers (1 Tim. 4:12). The evangelist who preaches the truth but lives a lie loses his audience, his influence, his effectiveness and his soul (1 Tim. 4:16).
4) The work of an evangelist is done publicly. The faithful evangelist keeps back “nothing that is helpful” when he preaches (Acts 20:20). Gospel preaching is not about having the “gift of gab”. The pulpit is not for entertaining the audience (Matt. 11:7-8). The preacher who is concerned with impressing his audience instead of making an impassioned gospel plea to his audience is a poor evangelist. The mark of an evangelist is boldness to proclaim the whole counsel of God (Acts 18:24-28; 20:27; Eph. 6:19). Preachers (and brethren) who are more concerned with style than substance have the wrong emphasis. Your work is to preach the word, not to promote your own “excellence of speech” (1 Cor. 2:1-5; 2 Cor. 5:11; Acts 26:28-29).
5) The work of an evangelist is done privately. Paul also taught “house to house” (Acts 20:20). Private Bible classes are needful to teach, to exhort, to encourage and to rebuke. They are a vital part of the evangelist’s work. Sometimes it is the private class and not the public sermon that accomplishes the most good. The Lord’s servant must wisely use private teaching to strengthen the weak and save the lost (2 Tim. 2:24-26).
(Back to Basics, Nov. 2008)
You can find the complete outline of this sermon at BIBLE ANSWERS
Scripture Reading: Psalm 100
God’s people always give Him thanks for His goodness, might, mercy and
deliverance (1 Chrn. 16:7-8; Psa. 100:4; 107:1-3; 136:1-3).
I. WHAT IS THANKSGIVING?
A. “The Grateful
Acknowledgment of Benefits Received.”
II. WHEN MUST WE GIVE THANKS?
A. Before the
Blessing Comes (Expectation), 2 Chrn. 20:20-21 (Heb. 13:5-6).
III. FOR WHAT MUST WE GIVE THANKS?
IV. TO WHOM MUST IT BE OFFERED TO?
A. The Father is the
Giver of all Good Gifts, Jas. 1:17 (Matt. 7:11; see 1 Tim. 1:12).
V. HOW MUST WE GIVE OUR THANKS TO GOD?
A. Christ is the
Means, Eph. 1:3; Col. 3:17
You can find the complete outline of this sermon at BIBLE ANSWERS
Scripture Reading: Acts 26:14-20
The invitation to respond to the gospel of Christ and be saved from sins was
central to apostolic preaching (Acts 2:37-40; 3:17-19, 26; 8:35-38; 10:48;
I. OPEN THEIR EYES: A CALL TO KNOW THE TRUTH, Acts 26:18.
A. The Gospel Invitation to Come to Jesus to be Saved is an Invitation to Come to the Truth, Jno. 8:31-32; Eph. 4:20-21.
II. THAT THEY MAY TURN: THE CALL OF CONVERSION, Acts 26:18.
A. From Darkness to
Light, Eph. 4:17-19 (Jno. 3:19-21; 1 Pet. 2:9).
III. THAT THEY MAY RECEIVE REMISSION OF SINS: THE REASON AND RESULT OF CONVERSION, Acts 26:18.
A. The Gospel Plan of Salvation: Hear (Jno. 6:44-45), Believe (Jno. 8:24), Confess faith (Matt. 10:32-33), Repent (Acts 26:20), Be baptized (Mk. 16:16); Live faithful (Co. 3:1-3)
IV. AN INHERITANCE: THE MOTIVATION TO RESPOND, Acts 26:18.
A. People Must Hear about the Future; Jno. 5:28-29; 2 Cor. 5:10; Rev. 20:12, 15; Matt. 25:46; Christians’ living hope, 1 Pet. 1:3-4.
V. SANCTIFICATION: BY FAITH IN CHRIST, Acts 26:18.
A. Obtain Life from
the Death of Sin by Faith in Christ, Rom. 1:16-17 (Gal. 2:16).
Trusting the Lord
These are turbulent economic times. Whose financial counsel can be trusted? Those who trust in themselves and their money are in uncharted waters of uncertainty and despair. Some are looking for government bailouts; some are looking for “bargains” in an attempt to recoup their losses. Insecurity and uncertainty abound. Trusting money and lusting for wealth brings foolishness, destruction and many sorrows (1 Tim. 6:9-10).
The covetous person trusts in things that will always fail. Jesus noted the transient nature of wealth when teaching his disciples to be faithful stewards of material goods, remembering that they serve the One who can give them “true riches” of eternal life (Lk. 16:8-12, 13).
We must trust in God and not in our possessions. The parable of the rich man in Luke 12:15-21 poignantly notes that only when it was too late did the man come to understand that “life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses”. Look closely at what the man’s thinking in verse 19:
1) “Soul”: He trusted in himself to satisfy and sustain his life.
2) “You have many goods laid up”: He thought his goods (his possessions) would sustain him forever.
3) “For many years”: He thought the future would happen exactly as he had planned.
4) “Take your ease”: He relied on his past work to satisfy his future needs.
5) “Eat, drink, and be merry”: His plans were selfish; self-centered and self-indulgent.
Ultimately, trusting in riches is trusting in oneself. “Cursed in the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength”; but, “blessed in the man who trusts in the Lord, and whose hope is the Lord” (Jer. 17:5, 7). Don’t wait for a crisis to say, “Now I have to trust God!” Trust God now and always (Heb. 13:5-6).
When your soul is required in death, where will you have laid up your treasures? (Lk. 12:20; Matt. 6:19-21)
Created by Chuck Sibbing. 11/24/2008
The Spirit's Sword is a free,
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA