Tim Johnson, editor
May 8, 2011
the Eye of the Beholder
A Gospel Meeting
Our gospel meeting begins today. I think it would do us all good to remind ourselves of the goals and aims of having a gospel meeting and the things that each one of us can do to help make this gospel meeting a success.
Save The Lost
The only means in which God has of reaching the hearts of men is through the preaching of the gospel. The gospel is preached in gospel meetings for the purpose of creating, building, and strengthening the faith. None can be saved without believing in Jesus Christ (John 8:24; Mark 16:15-16). The gospel is preached in an effort to save the lost. Even though fewer and fewer non-Christian visitors are attending gospel meetings than in times past, still there are some non-Christians that attend the gospel meeting. There are teenagers, mates of Christians, and friends of Christians that attend the gospel meeting and therefore every effort must be made to reach these individuals so they can learn the truth of God's Word before it is everlastingly too late.
Keep What We've Got
Gospel meetings are good to have in order to strengthen all Christians. We want to hold on to all the individuals that have already become Christians. There's no better way to do this than to continue to teach our number the Word of God. When Paul departed from the elders of the church at Ephesus, he said: "So now, brethren, I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified" (Acts 20:32). Families have had their marriage strengthened and received words of encouragement and hope through gospel meetings. Every Christian can always use more strengthening in their daily life!
Making The Gospel Meeting A Success
Every gospel meeting can be a success if we want it to be. The first thing we can do and should have been doing for the past month or so is to pray about the meeting. Pray that each of us will not be slack in inviting our friends and neighbors. Pray that many souls will be able to attend so the gospel can be heard and that their hearts will be pricked so as to respond favorably to the Word of God.
Singing is a vital part of the meeting. Often times the singing can make or break a gospel meeting. Nearly every gospel preacher I have known has said that good congregational singing adds much to the success of a gospel meeting. Good spiritual singing makes a preacher want to preach because it shows him that the congregation is interested in spiritual matters. The Hebrew writer wrote: "Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name" (Heb 13:15). Let's be prepared to continue to sing praises to God and to edify one another with the proper spirit and understanding (1 Cor 14:15). Good singing certainly helps make everyone in the audience more receptive to the preaching.
Every member should strive to meet and greet all those attending the meeting, especially visitors from the local area. A special effort should be made to get the names and addresses of all visitors from the local community. This information will be invaluable for follow up after the meeting. Remember that a first impression is a lasting impression. You can make a special effort to ask the visitors to sit with you during the service.
Every single member should make a personal effort to attend every assembly of the meeting. The elders of this local congregation thought it was important for us to have a meeting and therefore each and every one of us should put forth every effort to be here. Remember, we can't edify and encourage one another if we are not here. Anything worth doing is worth doing our best.
If we will give this meeting our very best effort in prayer, inviting our friends and neighbors, singing, and attendance, then it will be a success! Paul wrote in Romans 10:13-15: "For whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: "How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, who bring glad tidings of good things!"
-- Richard Thetford
--via ThetfordCountry.com, adapted
It has been said that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Indeed, it is true that many times we see what we are looking for! If we want to do something, we find a way; if we do not want to do it, we find and excuse.
In the home, the church or in business, success depends upon looking for the good in people and not majoring on the weaknesses. Although problems cannot be ignored, they should not be allowed to blind us to the good qualities that are present. When most of our talking is about problems instead of positive things, we need to sit down and have a talk with self. Think of God's attitude toward us. Is He looking for reasons to forsake us, or is He looking for opportunities to save us? Does He give up on us when he sees imperfections, or does He try to perfect us?
Factionalism comes from bad attitudes. Brethren major on the flaws in others and overlook all the good qualities and before long they believe that there are no good qualities in those people.
The Psalmist said, "Behold how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity" (Ps. 133:1). This unity is brought about, to a great extent, by attitude. Those who have "the mind of Christ" (Phil. 2:5), look for the good, rather than the bad. Consider Christ's attitude toward His disciples.
If you will pardon the likeness to Flip Wilson's expression: "What you see is what you get," we suggest that what you look for is what you find. If you look for opportunities to teach and encourage others, you will likely find those. May we be like the little girl who said she wanted glasses like her grandmother's - because "they made her always see the good in others"!
-- Frank Jamerson
Via Midway Messenger, October 31, 2004