Fruit for Eternal Life
Tuesday, July 10, 2012 at 1:45PM
Jeff Smith in Conversion, Discipleship, Evangelism

Clearly, gospel meetings are not what they used to be. Reading about revivals and tent meetings of the nineteenth century, or about extended efforts in theaters and auditoriums in the first half of the twentieth century, it becomes obvious that Americans were much more open to the concept of spending a couple hours each night of a week or two in praise and study than they are in today’s hasty, shallow culture. It is not that gospel meetings are the exclusive or divinely mandated means by which church’s reach out to their communities, but that any extension of its teaching should extol the gospel message in the most effective, yet authorized manner. As we prepare for another gospel meeting effort, regardless of past experience and in spite of burgeoning pessimism, we should do everything we can to make this effort succeed.

 

Discussion

I. The Purpose of Gospel Meetings

A. Evangelistic

1. we frequently speak regarding our duty to share the gospel with others, and of the church’s mission to reach out to the community, yet those opportunities are becoming rarer

2. the gospel meeting provides a special opportunity to join in this outreach, to evangelize the lost and those beyond the kingdom with the good news invitation (Romans 1:14-17)

3. eschewing all the bribes and prizes the churches of men attach to the gospel, we trust in its own inherent, exclusive power to save (Romans 10:11-17)

 

B. Revival

1. the additional hope, however, is that the lessons and experience will prove edifying to all of us as seasoned or novice believers already, to renew our love for Jesus through sacrificing our time and other interests for his (Revelation 2:4-5)

2. these are additional opportunities to be an encouragement and friend (Hebrews 10:24-25)

3. in short, we want to experience the revival of our own zeal and purposefulness (Revelation 3:15-19)

 

II. The Practice of Gospel Meetings

A. Planning

1. gospel meetings require planning, much of it accomplished by the visiting preacher, but an important part played by the host elders, preacher, and interested members

2. the meeting place must be prepared to represent the congregation as an orderly, decent, dedicated group of believers, and implements for inviting visitors must be produced

3. each member can prepare for the gospel meeting by trying to clear his schedule to be present, although we understand that sometimes absence is unavoidable

4. likewise, each member can prepare the meeting for success by promoting it in any way possible

a. invitation cards

b. posters

c. car magnets

d. word of mouth

e. door-to-door

f. telephone calls and reminders

5. it is also helpful if we all prepare our spirits through prayer and meditation to extend a friendly welcome to our visitors and to have the courage and wisdom to follow up with the people we invited and the people who came, regardless of how or why

 

B. Prospecting

1. Jesus saw in his world a field white for spiritual harvest and ours is really little different; even those who are committed to their denominations are worthy objects of an invitation to hear the gospel free from sectarian, Calvinistic, or Catholic tradition (John 4:34-38)

2. the prospects are as limitless as the Good Samaritan’s neighborhood – anyone with whom we have even a moment’s contact might receive the invitation to attend (see Luke 10:33-37)

3. fill your pocket with invitation cards, distribute them door-to-door on your street, or pick out a part of the shared neighborhood here around our meeting house to extend invitations

4. for close friends, neighbors, or relatives, consider making a night of it by having them for a meal before the meeting or dessert afterward

 

C. Participating

1. many times, gospel meetings fail in at least in important objective; while the preacher’s effort and his lessons might be wonderful, the attendance disappoints and we wish to cast the blame on cultural decline or unbelievers’ recalcitrance

2. to an extent, that is obviously true, but it is no excuse for inactivity or a lack of effort

3. our participation in the gospel meeting can extend past our own attendance to minimally trying to bring someone else along for the ride, using our talents in the quest for fruit unto eternal life (Matthew 25:14-23)

a. the one-talent man hid his in the ground and was judged a wicked and lazy servant, cast into outer darkness to weep and gnash his teeth

b. use your talent – your opportunity, ability, personality, or gift – to encourage someone else

 

Conclusion

We really only fail when we refuse to try.

 

Questions for Review

  1. Why aren’t gospel meetings as prominent as before?
  2. What alternatives to gospel meetings are there for churches?
  3. How are the “fields” still white for harvest today?
  4. What does it take to be an effective seed sower?
  5. What is in it for the member at a gospel meeting?
  6. What ways might be effective to invite outsiders?
  7. What can you commit to this effort?
Update on Sunday, September 16, 2012 at 7:14PM by Registered CommenterJeff Smith

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