The Meeting and You
Many have proclaimed the age of the Gospel Meeting over. “It just doesn’t work anymore.” “People just aren’t interested in coming and hearing a sermon on a week-night.”
A congregation of 100 in Cleburne, Texas recently conducted a meeting resulting in 15 baptisms, 2 confessions of sin, and 31 non-Christians signing a visitor’s card. Obviously, the age of the Gospel Meeting isn’t over. But, if we sit back do nothing, and expect a great meeting, we will be sorely disappointed.
This morning, we want to look at ways that you can help this church have a great Gospel Meeting.
We Can Invite Our Friends to Come
An invitation to come to Jesus can have great results.
Andrew brought his brother Peter to Jesus (Jn. 1:40-42).
Andrew had heard John the Baptist speak about Jesus, he went and found his brother, and brought him to Jesus. We know so little of what Andrew did. Did he preach great sermons after which many obeyed the Gospel? Did he spend his life traveling to foreign fields proclaiming the Gospel? But, we know what Peter did–he preached the first sermon after the Resurrection, he preached the first sermon to a Gentile, and he wrote two books of the New Testament. Would Peter have ever been an apostle if it weren’t for Andrew?
After Philip was called by Jesus, he went to Nathanael and said, “‘We have found Him of whom Moses in the law, and also the prophets wrote–Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph” (Jn. 1:43-45).
In the Parable of the Wedding Feast, the king told his servants, “Go into the highways, and as many as you find invite to the wedding” (Matt. 22:9).
In one survey, 63% of individuals became Christians due to the influence of family and friends. Inviting your family and friends could have a great impact on whether or not they obey the Gospel.
Are you inviting people to come to the Gospel Meeting?
We Can Pray
Prayer has such great power.
After the Sanhedrin warned the apostles not to preach anymore in the name of Jesus, the apostles came together and prayed for boldness (Acts 4:23-30).
“And when they had 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). Because the apostles prayed for boldness, God gave them boldness.
The church prayed for Peter after Herod had him arrested and placed in prison (Acts 12:3-12). The church was offering “constant” prayer to God for Peter (v. 5)–They weren’t just praying a little bit; they were pouring out their hearts to God. An angel came into Peter’s prison cell and released him from prison.
“Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months” (Js. 5:17).
Too many times we pray, but we don’t believe God will really answer our prayers. When Rhoda, the young girl who answered the door when Peter arrived at John Mark’s mother’s house while the church was praying for him, told the church that Peter was at the gate, they said, “It is his angel” (Acts 12:15). Too many times we’re like the early church. When we are in a drought and desperately need rain, we pray for rain but leave the umbrellas at home. When we face financial difficulties, we ask God to provide, but we can’t sleep because we’re worrying. When we face medical difficulties, we pray, but we just know that we aren’t going to get any better. We don’t need to pray if we’re going to doubt God’s ability to answer those prayers (Js. 1:6-8).
For what things do we need to pray?
We need to pray for our speaker.
Ephesians 6:18-20. If Paul, a man endowed with the miraculous measure of the Spirit, needed the prayers of the church, surely those who preach in this era need those prayers as well.
We need to pray that God will give our speaker boldness to proclaim God’s truths accurately and in love and wisdom to know what he should say.
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).
We need to pray for the lost by name–imploring God to open their hearts to hear the Gospel.
Are you praying for the meeting?
We Can Attend the Meeting
We Christians are instructed to attend worship–we are not to forsake the “assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching” (Heb. 10:25).
The reason we aren’t to neglect the assembly is so that we can exhort one another. The Hebrew Christians needed to be encouraged.
These Christians were suffering. Hebrews 10:32-34. “Consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls, You have not yet resisted to bloodshed, striving against sin” (Heb. 12:3-4). These Christians needed encouragement to hold on in face of such adversity.
These Christians were in danger of falling away.
“For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins” (Heb. 10:26). The “for” here ties this back to what the author has just said-they need to meet together and encourage one another.
We Christians today need encouragement in our lives. It’s not easy to be a Christian in the society in which we live. We have temptations we need help in overcoming. Our brethren are to provide encouragement to live a Christian life in this society and help us overcome temptation.
What are some ways our presence encourages those who attend? We say by our presence that we believe the Gospel is vitally important. We say by our presence that there are others who believe like you do. We say by our presence, “I’m with you; we’re on the same team; we’re working together.”
What are some steps we can take to encourage one another during this meeting?
We can greet visitors warmly.
We can introduce ourselves, invite them over for coffee, invite them to sit with us. We need to do this more with those who are lost than those who are visiting from other congregations.
We can speak kind words to those who need to come to Jesus.
We can say things like, “I’m praying for you. Now is a good time to obey the Gospel.” We never need to speak to them out in the open so that we embarrass them; we need to respect their privacy.
We can be on time.
Being late is distracting and sends a message that we have more important things to do. Being on time says that what we’re doing is vitally important.
Are you encouraging others concerning this meeting?
If we work together and have God on our side, we will have a great meeting. We know we’ll have God on our side. We, therefore, need to work together.
There would be no better way to begin a Gospel meeting than for you to give your life to Jesus. Do you need to come to Jesus?
This sermon was originally preached by Dr. Justin Imel, Sr., at the Alum Creek church of Christ in Alum Creek, West Virginia.