The Return of Gospel Meetings
The word “COVID” continues to strike fear in the hearts of most who hear it spoken. Several of us have suffered from its horrors and some more than once. For more than a year, churches of Christ were hindered either by the actuality of COVID or the fear of contracting it from conducting gospel meetings. Fortunately, last year saw the return to such efforts, and this year, they are thankfully becoming plentiful as they need to be!
Unfortunately, some brethren simply don’t understand the importance and value of these efforts. Too many believe they interfere with vacation time (and sometimes they do), school events (and sometimes they do), or something unplanned (and sometimes they do.) But name anything more important than God’s word which is able to save our souls? (James 1:21; Romans 1:16 – 17) Every soul must hear it before they can believe it; belief precedes repentance which precedes confession of our faith that Jesus Christ is the only begotten Son of God, and this precedes being immersed into Christ for the remission of our sins. (Acts 2: 27 -41). Gospel meetings grant this wonderful opportunity to hear the gospel and act upon its righteous effects on the hearts of the hearers. (ibid.)
Some contend there is no need for gospel meetings because “we hear this every Sunday” or some such statement indicating they “get enough” with two or three weekly lessons. Consider this fact: the earliest brethren met together daily (Acts 2:46). Notice Paul’s statement to the brethren at Corinth: “Though the outward man perishes, the inward man is renewed day by day.” (2 Corinthians 4:16). Other passages that showing a daily assembling and/or study are: Acts 5:42; 16:5; 17:11; 19:9; Hebrews 3:13. With such evidence, by what authority does a faithful child of God do anything less? By the commanded instruction of Hebrews 10:25, how does less become more in service?
The word “gospel” means, “good news.” In this present world, good news is not as plentiful as in times past. However, the great news of Jesus Christ, the salvation offered via obedience to His word, and the tremendous promise of eternal life when we are found to have lived faithfully unto death (Revelation 2:10) is the best news any soul can hear and obey! Why then, not encourage more opportunities for the gospel? Granted, some will continue in their routine of Sunday morning bible study, morning and evening worship, and mid-week bible study – but no more! I’m not counting those who cannot attend because of work, school, illness, or other acceptable hindrances. I’m speaking of those who simply can and don’t – and express no intentions otherwise! One would think they would crave “good news,” but alas, “it is what it is" – and it needs to change! (James 4:17)
Gospel meetings are like the “continued education” required of schoolteachers, or “extended credits” as required for doctors, lawyers, accountants, or “extra training” as required for a multiplicity of laborers. Few if any object to these requirements and acknowledge their advancement in whatever career is dependent upon this additional learning experience. Ponder this question: Is there anything more important than your soul’s growth and development? (2 Peter 3:18) If not, then additional opportunities of learning more from God’s word is a “no brainer.” (No pun intended!)
For the preachers of these efforts, there are added benefits, and I’m not speaking financially. Though many congregations are quite generous in their remuneration for these efforts, many of us older men (and a few younger ones) know we have preached many a sermon with a “thank you” as the pay: and we’ve never complained or sent a bill! We benefitted just the same! The extra study in preparation of these sermons, the additional challenges of preaching them (every audience is different -- the needs may be the same, but how they are provided changes), and the blessings received by being with other brethren are marvelous experiences. After all, if we intend to dwell eternally in heaven together, we had better learn how to dwell as brethren here on earth!
One’s love for the gospel is usually seen more than heard. Your family, friends, and neighbors are more aware of your conduct than you may realize. If they see your faithful diligence in service to Christ, then they seldom question your vocal admission of the same. We know this is the case in temporal areas. They see your interest in sports, hobbies, and other practices for which you have established a good reputation. Why not allow them to see your good conversation (i.e., manner of life) in the gospel of Christ? (1 Timothy 4:12; 1 Peter 1: 15 – 16)
The need and the value of gospel meetings are unquestionably great! We Christians need to realize this isn’t just “membership in the church of Christ” – it is our LIFE! (Colossians 3: 1-4) We either live it and grow within it, or we die – eternally (2 Thessalonians 1: 7 – 9). It is your choice, but as for me, bring on the gospel meetings, and the more the better! Will you join me?