Welcome to our Gospel Meeting!
BRIAN PERRY of Salem, IN is our speaker for this effort of preaching the gospel to saint and sinner alike! To Brian and his family, Stephanie, Whitney, Lilly, and Kason, we bid them welcome! Knowing Brian will do his part, as he does every “fifth Sunday” for us, we must recognize our part and fulfill it with extensive detail. (See Mike’s Musings, back page.)
“Gospel meetings” are not “conventions” for Christians. Neither are they “get-togethers for visitation and reunion.” They are just what the term implies: a meeting where the GOSPEL is preached! While in these more “modern” times, most of those attending will be Christians, these efforts are equally devoted to the proclamation of God’s Truth for those who are not yet Christians! The messages presented should both exhort (build up) and admonish (warn) the Christian to remain faithful, while simultaneously convicting the sinner of the error of his/her ways. It isn’t the speaker that does this: IT IS THE CONTENT OF THE MESSAGE which is the word of God! (Romans 1:16 – 17)
Should questions arise in the minds of the hearers (either saint or sinner), we stand willing, ready, and able to study God’s Word with you, and find the answer to your concerns within the sacred writing of God’s Word – nothing else! We’ll make the time available: there isn’t anything of any nature with greater importance than the saving of your soul! Knowing none are saved without obedience to Christ and His gospel (Matthew 28:19 – 20; Mark 16:15-16; Acts 2:38; et al), it is critical to help every questioning soul find GOD’S solution and follow HIS requirements to rid your soul of sin and place you into the kingdom of Christ (Acts 2:47b) with the requirement of being faithful unto death (Revelation 2:10; 2 Peter 1: 1 – 10). It is our duty as Christians to be helpful to those seeking God’s Truth (2 Corinthians 4:3).
Though most of us know each other and know most of those visiting with us from other churches of Christ, courtesy should be paramount toward all! Read carefully 1 Peter 3: 8 – 12. Notice how Peter expresses the necessity of being appropriately kind in our conduct toward others! He goes into much greater detail at Ephesians 4:17 – 32, closing with these words: “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.” (emp. MJD) Our kindness is one of the most powerful tools of influence! It is noted faster and with greater reception than nearly any other characteristic of our conduct! It most often is a reason others who need to be here return! Without kindness being expressed or received … well, you can imagine the irreputable harm!
Our reverence in prayer, singing, and study at each service is important as well! It is often said, “The preacher is holding the meeting.” I deny it! To my knowledge, no preacher anywhere, including those in the New Testament, ever “held” a gospel meeting! They may be the one expressly invited by the local work to present the lessons for a week’s concentrated effort. But it is always the local work that “holds the meeting!” Why do I make this point? Simple: the success of a gospel meeting is not the sole responsibility of the guest preacher! He doesn’t know the brethren as well as we do. He doesn’t know the visitors as well as we do (or should). He’s there’s to preach; and after a few days of this effort, he’ll return home and we at Orleans are still responsible for furthering the reception of God’s Truth within the hearts of those who attended! We are the ones “holding the meeting” in that we desire to conduct it, we desire to receive it, and we desire to benefit from it and see that others benefit as well from the preaching of the gospel!
Gospel meetings used to be termed “protracted meetings.” The word “protracted” means, “extended over a period of time.” The beginning of a meeting would be announced, but not a “closing date”. That was established according to the interest during the first few days. Often, meetings would last more than two or three weeks! They were referred to as “revivals” because they often “revived” interest in God’s Truth. (Obviously, the be a “revival” is an admission of such interest being depleted over time, and thus the need for a “revival.” Maybe we should return to using that term! A subject for another time …) During the last several decades, we’ve come to limit gospel meetings to less than a week. Frankly, our more modern way of life has created this limitation. Yet, our interest in the saving of souls has no limitation! Nowadays, gospel meetings often are good for “planting the seed of the kingdom” (1 Corinthians 3:6). They also do some watering of that seed (ibid), but we must spend some time cultivating it so it will grow well, and God grants the increase to His honor and glory!
So, we welcome you to this effort! We encourage your questions, your comments, your fervent attention to God’s Truth! That all familiar question of “Why?” merits a Scriptural answer; and we have no other book but the Bible and no creed but God’s sacred word within it by which to give you an answer! Simply stated, if we can’t prove it, we won’t say it or do it (1 Thessalonians 5:21; Colossians 3:17). That includes helping you learn what you must do to be saved eternally and staying that way throughout your earthly life (2 Timothy 4:1 – 8).