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Preparing for our Gospel Meeting

Preparing for our Gospel Meeting.

 

A.  In one week this church will be starting something that is very special – A Gospel Meeting…

1. We have invited different guest speakers to come and present lessons and we are going to be meeting this Sunday thru Wednesday for praying, singing, & studying God’s word together

2.  Gospel meetings are a traditional thing, but throughout the years they have proven themselves to be a highly effective tool for both evangelism and revival.  Gospel meetings have seen many people obey the gospel, the unfaithful return to the Lord, & the faithful to be encouraged

 

II

A.  Before next week comes, it’d be good for us to step back and consider what we are actually having:

1.  Whether in general life or in doing spiritual works, understanding what we are doing and approaching it with a plan is vital to being successful: 

(Nehemiah 2:11-16)11 So I went to Jerusalem and was there three days. 12 Then I arose in the night, I and a few men with me. And I told no one what my God had put into my heart to do for Jerusalem. There was no animal with me but the one on which I rode. 13 I went out by night by the Valley Gate to the Dragon Spring and to the Dung Gate, and I inspected the walls of Jerusalem that were broken down and its gates that had been destroyed by fire. 14 Then I went on to the Fountain Gate and to the King's Pool, but there was no room for the animal that was under me to pass. 15 Then I went up in the night by the valley and inspected the wall, and I turned back and entered by the Valley Gate, and so returned. 16 And the officials did not know where I had gone or what I was doing, and I had not yet told the Jews, the priests, the nobles, the officials, and the rest who were to do the work.

 

a. Didn’t look like Nehemiah was doing much, but this was a crucial part of his success!  What was he doing during those three days & that one night?  Observing the work to be done, formulating a plan, and preparing himself mentally for the work to be done.  It was important & mattered.

 

b. Illustration: Building a building. Blueprints. Schematics.

 

c. With gospel meetings we sometimes say, "I want it to be a success” but we don’t really visualize what that means, we don’t make a plan, & so we don’t do what it takes to make it successful

 

2.  By considering some things this is called, we can get a better grasp of what we are seeking to do:

a. Gospel Meeting – A term used by local churches of Christ over the years just to be different from other churches who use the term "revival.”  Gospel meeting emphasizes that it’s a meeting about the gospel.  Only problem is it’s unfamiliar to our friends & sounds unapproachable

b. Revival – Looking up revival online (Wikipedia) you find an exact definition for what we are having The term seems focus more on the "reviving” of the spiritual fires of those already saved.

 

3.  So we need to ask ourselves the question:  What would we like to see accomplished by this meeting?

a. Evangelism:  Do we want people to visit who aren’t Christians?  Would we like to see people obey the gospel as a result of the meeting?  Would we like people who have never heard the gospel in its purity to hear it for the first time?  (Romans 1:14-16)

Romans 1:14-16 - I am under obligation both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish. 15 So I am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome. 16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.

 

b. Spiritual renewal: Do we want our faith to be strengthened?  Do we want a chance to encourage each other more?  Are we looking rekindle our zeal and passion for serving God?  Are we wanting to provide an opportunity for those who have fallen away to return? (Heb 10:24)

Heb 10:24 - 24 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works.

 

c. Spark Interest:  Do we want people who are looking for a different church to be drawn to this church?  Some are simply unhappy & some see are seeing error where they currently attend

 

4.  So we need to ask:  "What would I like to see accomplished by this meeting?”  and then ask, "Now, what can I do to help us accomplish this goal?” – This is exactly what Nehemiah did (Nehemiah 2:17-18)

 

Nehemiah 2:17-18: Then I said to them, "You see the trouble we are in, how Jerusalem lies in ruins with its gates burned. Come, let us build the wall of Jerusalem, that we may no longer suffer derision.” 18 And I told them of the hand of my God that had been upon me for good, and also of the words that the king had spoken to me. And they said, "Let us rise up and build.” So they strengthened their hands for the good work.

 

B.  Consider some important lessons we can learn from an ancient, but Biblical, "Gospel Meeting” – A gospel meeting at the home of Cornelius and Peter was the guest speaker:

 

1.  It was a success because Cornelius had put forth effort to invite people he knew (Acts 10:1-2, 24-27)

10:1 At Caesarea there was a man named Cornelius, a centurion of what was known as the Italian Cohort, a devout man who feared God with all his household, gave alms generously to the people, and prayed continually to God.

 

24 And on the following day they entered Caesarea. Cornelius was expecting them and had called together his relatives and close friends. 25 When Peter entered, Cornelius met him and fell down at his feet and worshiped him. 26 But Peter lifted him up, saying, "Stand up; I too am a man.” 27 And as he talked with him, he went in and found many persons gathered.

 

2.  It was a success because Cornelius and his invitees had purposed to be present (Acts 10:33)

33 So I sent for you at once, and you have been kind enough to come. Now therefore we are all here in the presence of God to hear all that you have been commanded by the Lord.”

 

3.  It was a success because Cornelius and the others had prepared their hearts & minds for it (Acts 10:33)

 

4.  It was a success because Cornelius and the others participated zealously in the meeting (Acts 10:44-47)

44 While Peter was still saying these things, the Holy Spirit fell on all who heard the word. 45 And the believers from among the circumcised who had come with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit was poured out even on the Gentiles. 46 For they were hearing them speaking in tongues and extolling God. Then Peter declared, 47 "Can anyone withhold water for baptizing these people, who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?”

 

C.  Now let’s consider some practical things we can do to help make this gospel meeting a greater success:

1.  Be zealous about personally inviting people to come to the gospel meeting (Romans 10:14)

14 How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?

 

a. We are all blessed with a network of relationships – Friends, family, coworkers, etc… All of these people have been around us enough to be comfortable with us and have seen our faith.  Our example before them has "purchasing power” for evangelism.  These are our best prospects!

 

b. When it comes to getting visitors to our meetings, how do we get the word out?  Traditionally we print flyers, announce it on our website, billboards, we have it on our sign outside and on radio.  How many of us have actually seen a visitor come because of that?  Now how many have come because of a personal invitation?

 

c. Many people won’t come for worship on Sunday because they already have a church they attend…maybe we’ve invited them before & they haven’t come due to this.  A meeting is a great time

 

d. Some things that help:  Invite and follow up on the invite, talk to them during the week about the previous lessons with enthusiasm, invite them to "dinner and a Bible study” on a specific night and if they say they can’t make it, pick a different night, or offer to pick them up.

 

2.  Participate in the worship in such a way that’d increase edification & evangelism (I Cor 14:3, 5,  23-25)

 

On the other hand, the one who prophesies speaks to people for their upbuilding and encouragement and consolation. The one who speaks in a tongue builds up himself, but the one who prophesies builds up the church. Now I want you all to speak in tongues, but even more to prophesy. The one who prophesies is greater than the one who speaks in tongues, unless someone interprets, so that the church may be built up.

 

a. We may struggle for how to apply 1 Corinthians 14 since we don’t have the presence of spiritual gifts today, but the point Paul was making to them needs to be understood & applied by all!

 

b. When we assemble we ought to be focused on others – How does my worship impact those  around me, whether they are other Christians or people who are lost? 

 

c. If I am not putting enough into my singing, are the members edified and are visitors being  convicted by my singing?  If I am not following along with the Bible study, are others being built up by my example or do they think it doesn’t matter? 

 

3.  Be more visitor conscious from the time we arrive until the time you leave the meeting: (1 Cor 14:16)

 

16 Otherwise, if you give thanks with your spirit, how can anyone in the position of an outsider  say "Amen” to your thanksgiving when he does not know what you are saying?

 

a. Imagine being a visitor in the assembly Paul is discussing here – There’s been prophesying, speaking in tongues, praying, and singing.  As a visitor, especially if you are a non Christian, you have NO CLUE what is going on.  If not interpreted or explained, you leave confused!

 

b. The same thing can happen, but for different reasons, with our assemblies.  Many won’t know what to expect if they come and that scares them.  Some don’t understand why we do what we do.  To some the phrases and words we use may seem like a foreign language. 

 

c. So to help our meeting be aware of this when you invite people – Let them know what a gospel meeting is, let them know what they can expect, & show them how they will benefit from it. When we are assembled, keep an eye out for visitors.  Help them find a seat, be courteous, help make them comfortable from the time they are walking in to the time they are leaving, take time to get to know them… You might even ask them to sit with you during worship

 

d. Of course to do this we have to be punctual!  It’s embarrassing to have visitors come in asking where everyone is at!  It makes them uncomfortable and starts them off with a negative feeling about us.  We lose valuable time in building relationships if we’re right on time or late

 

4.  Pray for the success of the gospel meeting and pray for specific things to be successful ( Col 4:2-5)

Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison— that I may make it clear, which is how I ought to speak.

Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time.

 

a. We often put the gospel meeting in our prayers and we pray for God to bless it – Let’s not just be doing this during our services, but let’s be during this during our private prayers as well

 

b. It helps me to pray for more specific things – Praying for the speaker to have wisdom and strength, for the people I have invited, for good attendance, for good weather, for enthusiastic singing, for more opportunities to invite people, for other people’s invitations, etc

 

c. Maybe if there is someone you have been talking to and you have invited – Why not ask your brothers and sisters in Christ to be praying specifically for that person?  




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