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Why Some Succeed And Others Fail
1. Gospel meetings can be a useful tool in the work of the local
a. A special series of services, lasting a few days, a week, or even
b. In which sermons or lessons are presented by guest preachers or
c. Accompanied by congregational singing and prayer
2. The purpose of gospel meetings can be twofold...
a. Evangelism - providing opportunity to invite others to hear the
b. Edification - building up the members through teaching of God's
-- Some gospel meetings focus on one purpose or the other
3. Not all gospel meetings appear to have the same effect...
a. Some are successful in sowing the seed, and building up the
b. Others are failures, discouraging those who attend rather than
[Why the difference? Who do some succeed and others fail? I believe
the difference can be found in the attitudes of the members of the
congregation hosting the meeting...]
I. ENTHUSIASM LEADS TO SUCCESS
A. ENTHUSIASTIC PREACHING...
1. Presented by the guest preacher(s)
a. Lessons designed to stir the heart
b. Sermons presented by a preacher on fire for the Lord - cf.
Jer 15:16 - Your words were found, and I ate them, and your words became to me a joy and the delight of my heart, for I am called by your name, O LORD, God of hosts.
Jer 20:9 - If I say, "I will not mention him, or speak any more in his name," there is in my heart as it were a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I am weary with holding it in, and I cannot.
2. Listened to by a receptive audience
a. Who receive the Word with all readiness - cf. Ac 17:11 - Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.
b. Whose attentiveness inspires the preacher in his efforts
-- Rarely is there a problem with the preacher being on fire; yet
the audience can have an impact on the preacher's zeal!
B. ENTHUSIASTIC WORSHIP...
1. Congregational singing that uplifts and inspires - cf. Col 3:16 - Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.
a. Led by enthusiastic and talented song leaders
b. Joined in by joyful congregants
2. Prayers offered that bless those who hear - cf. He 4:14-16 - 14 Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.
15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.
16 Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
a. Often expressed by visiting preachers or elders
b. Drawing us near to God and preparing us to receive the Word
-- Enthusiasm in worship further blesses the audience by firing up
C. ENTHUSIASTIC ATTENDANCE...
1. Attendance by the regular members
a. Coming to every service of the meeting as possible
b. Arriving early, glad to be present
2. Attendance by the visitors
a. Brethren from congregations in the area
1) Who support our efforts by their presence
2) Who contribute to the occasion by their singing and
b. Visitors from the community
1) Who have accepted the invitation to come
2) Whose presence indicates spiritual interest
-- It is not uncommon for visitors to outnumber members; if all
the local members are present, the building will likely be
D. ENTHUSIASTIC WELCOME...
1. Extended before the service begins
a. By members who arrive early, ready to greet and welcome the
b. By members who leave premium seating for the visitors
2. Extended after the service is over
a. By members who stay around, talking to the visitors
b. By members who may show hospitality by inviting visitors
into their homes or to a restaurant for a snack
-- Added to the efforts of the guest preacher(s), such interaction
between members and visitors enhances the edification of the
[Even if a single soul does not respond to the gospel invitation, a
gospel meeting is a success when the Word of God has been proclaimed and
saints have been edified.
Yet sometimes, a gospel meeting fails to rise to the occasion despite
the faithful efforts of a fervent preacher. A major reason for failure
can be summarized in one word: Apathy...]
II. APATHY LEADS TO FAILURE
A. APATHY TOWARD THE WORD...
1. Manifested by indifference toward the gospel meeting
2. Observable by poor attendance by the members of the
3. Noticed by visitors from other congregations and the community
-- Does our absence not say something about our reverence for the
Word of God?
B. APATHY TOWARD PRAISING GOD...
1. Evident in late arrival that disrupts the service in progress
2. Expressed in song and prayer that lacks zeal and fervor of
-- Does not the praise of God deserve the same common courtesy we
show other appointments we keep?
C. APATHY TOWARD BRETHREN...
1. Visible by our absence and empty seats
2. Apparently our concern for one another is not sufficient to
make the effort necessary to attend
-- Does not our absence suggest indifference about the growth and
well-being of the church?
D. APATHY TOWARD VISITORS...
1. Shown by failing to welcome them
2. Conveyed by our quick departure after the services
-- Can we expect visitors to take our message seriously, when we
fail to take their presence seriously?
1. As with any service rendered to God or man, success or failure is
affected by attitude...
a. Enthusiasm increases the likelihood of success
b. Apathy guarantees the likelihood of failure
2. In the service of God, attitude is important...
a. Diligence and fever are essential in our service to the Lord - Ro
12:11 - Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord.
b. Lukewarmness in our service is abominable to the Lord - Re 3:15-16
As we plan our involvement gospel meetings, what will our attitude be?
The success or failure of gospel meetings rests heavily upon our
attitude. And so does our eternal well-being!
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