How to Resurrect the Gospel Meeting
Many have proclaimed the age of the Gospel Meeting dead. In many ways, they are correct. No longer can we simply put up a sign that reads “Gospel Meeting” an expect people crowding the building. No longer can we a month-long meeting because people are “just too busy.” No longer can we automatically count on members of the congregation hosting the meeting to support it; there are just too many other things going on in their lives.
In many ways, however, they are not correct. If a congregation works – and therein lies the key! – many can hear the Gospel through a meeting. If a congregation works, many can be added to the Lord through a meeting. If a congregation works, brethren can be strengthened and edified through a meeting.
This morning, we want to think about how to keep the Gospel Meeting from simply dying out. We need a resurrection of Gospel Meetings so that much good can be done – so that souls can be saved and Christians can be edified. We need a resurrection of Gospel Meetings right here at Alum Creek. Let’s think about how to resurrect a meeting.
Attend the Meeting
In many congregations, getting the brethren to support their own meeting has become something like pulling hens’ teeth.
We need to attend the Gospel Meeting, because:
Our attendance glorifies God.
Worship provides us an opportunity to life God’s name on high. “Let the peoples praise You, O God; Let all the peoples praise You” (Ps. 67:3). “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).
Through worship, we participate in that prescribed praise – our singing, our prayers, our heeding the words of Scripture lift God’s name on high. Will you lift God’s name on high? Will you attend the meeting?
Our attendance declares that spiritual matters are important in our life.
Jesus told two parables in Matthew 13:44-46 to impress on us the importance of spiritual matters. In both parables, men found something of great value – one man found a treasure and another found a pearl. In both parables, the men went and sold all that they had in order to possess the object of great value. The meaning is clear: the kingdom of heaven is of extreme importance, so much so that it should be the priority in our lives – we should be willing to sell all that we have to possess it.
If spiritual matters are really important to us, we will attend the meeting. We will attend, because: We will have an opportunity to grow more into the image of Jesus Christ; and We will have an opportunity to praise God.
Our attendance declares to the world our faith in the Lord Jesus.
Being here instead of elsewhere next week will tell those around us what we believe concerning the Lord Jesus. Our attendance is quite like what Paul said about the Lord’s Supper. “As often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes” (1 Cor. 11:26). As often as we take the Lord’s Supper, Paul declares, we proclaim our faith in the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ.
Our attendance at the Gospel Meeting declares that Jesus is Lord, that he is worthy of our worship, and that our obedience to his will determines our eternal destiny. Do you have a strong faith in the Lord Jesus? Will you attend?
Invite Someone to Attend with Us
God instructs his children to be fishers of men. “He who wins souls is wise” (Prov. 11:30). “You, son of Man: I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; therefore you shall hear a word from My mouth and warn them for Me” (Ezek. 33:7). “Those who are wise shall shine Like the brightness of the firmament, And those who turn many to righteousness Like the stars forever and ever” (Dan. 12:3). “Make disciples of all the nations” (Matt. 28:19). “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mk. 16:15).
When evangelism is often mentioned, people will often say, “I just don’t know how to evangelize.” I’m sure there are many good people who want to win people to Jesus, but they simply don’t know how to do so. These good people do not know how to sit down with someone and conduct a Bible study. These good people aren’t sure they can answer the questions they may be asked.
However, the Gospel Meeting provides us an opportunity to invite friends, neighbors, and family to hear the Gospel of Jesus. The word of God will be proclaimed. The word that will be proclaimed has the power to save the lost: “I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes” (Rom. 1:16). The word that will be proclaimed has the power to convict the lost of sin – Hebrews 4:12-13. The writer of Hebrews says that the Gospel cuts people to the core. As people hear the Gospel, their lives are laid bare before the Word of God; they understand they are sinners and cry out for hope.
You can invite friends, neighbors and family to hear that Gospel. You would be following the example of the earliest disciples. Andrew “first found his own brother Simon, and said to him, ‘We have found the Messiah’” (Jn. 1:41). “Philip found Nathanael and said to him, ‘We have found Him of whom Moses in the law, and also the prophets, wrote – Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph’” (Jn. 1:45).
You can do the very same thing. You can go to friends, neighbors, and family, and say, “Come and learn with me.” You can go to friends, neighbors, and family, and say, “I may not be able to answer all your questions, but we’ll find someone who can.”
A well-known preacher pointed out that the New Testament tells of forty people, each suffering from the same disease, who were healed by Jesus. Of this number, thirty-four were either brought to Jesus by friends, or he was taken to them. In only six cases did the sufferers find the way to Jesus without assistance.
Will you be an Andrew and a Philip? Will you say to your friends, neighbors, and family, “I have found the Christ”?
Pray about the Meeting
I seriously wonder if one reason people say that meetings do not work is that they never wrap their meetings in prayer.
We need to wrap Gospel Meetings in prayer. If we pray, God will hear and answer our prayers. The apostles prayed when they had been warned not to speak in the name of Jesus. They prayed, “Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness [we] may speak Your word” (Acts 4:29). After they prayed, “the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness” (Acts 4:31). The apostles prayed to speak with boldness, and God answered their prayer in a mighty fashion.
God has promised to answer our prayers. “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you” (Lk. 11:9). “Whatever you ask in My name, that 1 will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it” (Jn. 14:13-14). “Whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight” (l Jn. 3:22).
Leonard Ravenhill once said, “One might estimate the weight of the world, tell the size of the celestial city, count the stars of heaven, measure the speed of lightning, and tell the time of the rising and the setting of the sun – but you cannot estimate prayer-power. Prayer is as vast as God because he is behind it. Prayer is as mighty as God because he has committed himself to answer it.”
Since God will answer our prayers, for what things do we need to pray in regard to the meeting?
We need to pray for the speaker.
Paul asked his fellow Christians to pray for him. “Brethren, pray for us” (1 Thess. 5:25). “Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may run swiftly and be glorified, just as it is with you” (2 Thess. 3:1). If Paul, an inspired man, needed prayer, surely those of us who preach and are uninspired need prayer all the more.
Pray for the speaker’s study, pray for his boldness, pray for his ability.
We need to pray for the lost.
“Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved” (Rom. 10:1). Pray for your friends, neighbors, and family that they may be saved.
The age of the Gospel Meeting is not dead IF the people of God will do what God has called them to do.
Are you ready to work? Are you ready to do what God has called you to do? Are you ready to resurrect the age of the Gospel Meeting?
This sermon was originally preached by Dr. Justin Imel, Sr., at the Alum Creek church of Christ in Alum Creek, West Virginia.