By Saturday, Mack Fox will be on his way here to spend the week with us as he intends to proclaim the gospel to us throughout the course of our gospel meeting.  Over the last month we have spent time talking about our meeting, on Wednesday we will have a special song service which will purposefully help us to prepare for the meeting as we sing songs about ringing out the message and spend time in prayer, praying that the meeting will be successful and that those of the world might become obedient to the truth.  With this in mind, I wanted to use today’s bulletin to remind ourselves of the reason why we have meetings in the 1st place.
In the “churchdom” today meetings are held by churches for a variety of reasons.  Some will have special meetings to advocate political views.  Especially this time of the year, candidates are looking for whatever forum they can get to encourage voters to show up on election day.  This has been accomplished by giving the pulpit to the candidate to even hosting debates, open discussion forums and the like.  Others will hold meetings to promote some human corporation.  While I do not deny that some of these human corporations can do great good, one has to ask, what does it have to do with the work of the church?  Others hold meetings whose primary purpose is to entertain.  There is a stand up comic here in the U.S. who has great morals and ethics.  He refuses to use foul language, supports family values, and whose humor clearly shows that one can be funny without resorting to vulgarity, coarse jesting, or speaking of things which are not proper.  In his fame, churches have been lining up to book him for special meetings.  While each of these types of meetings certainly have their place in today’s world one has to ask, is this really a meeting the church is supposed to be promoting in their community?  Have we not learned anything from Christ’s cleansing of the temple? 
“My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves (Matt. 21:13).”  Christ condemned the Jews when they took the Lord’s house and turned it into something that it was not intended for.  The Lord’s house was not intended to be used for anything that was not spiritual in nature.  Whether we use it to promote a business like the money changers did, promote a candidate or for entertainment purposes none of them are spiritual in nature. 
Gospel meetings are supposed to be for preaching the truth of the bible.  Paul told Timothy he was to teach the word, in season and out of season; to reprove, rebuke and exhort (II Tim. 4:2).  This needs to be the primary focus of the church.  It is our responsibility to be supporting the gospel.  Paul called the church the pillar and ground of truth (I Tim. 3:15).  A pillar supports that which it holds up.  It was not just a fancy way to design one’s porch.  Furthermore, the pillar of ancient times would hold up the temples in such a way that all would see it.  This means that the church has the responsibility to hold the truth up so that all may see it, the truth… not a candidate, not a comedian, not a business.
Gospel meetings are supposed to edify the saints.  When we gather together Paul taught that it was to be, “
… fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love (Eph. 4:16).”  While many can understand the simplicity of what Paul is teaching here, they often fail to understand  that the edification spoken of in the scriptures is that of spiritual edification.  Note the context of Eph. 4:16.  The previous verse spoke of growing up in Christ.  This would naturally exclude building up one’s business, candidate, or “feelings” as we are entertained.
Gospel meetings are supposed to be for the converting of those who are lost in sin.  Or at least, that is what their originally purposes were.  I imagine some of you are old enough to remember the old tent meetings were many would come to the Lord.  Today we seem to find the gospel meetings no longer focusing upon the teaching of the lost, rather on teaching the saved.  While the saved ought be taught, the church would do itself a service to remember that we at some point need to teach others.  What better time than the Gospel Meeting.  Encourage them to come and hear the message preached.
Gospel meetings are supposed to be about restoring the erring.  One of the things that are often forgotten when it comes to the work of the church is reaching out unto those no longer with us.  I am certain each of us can look around the auditorium and no longer see faces of those who were once faithful unto the Lord.  When is the last time you tried to reach out to them?  When is the last time you invited them to come back?  Now, would make a great time. ~WTK

Grinnell church of Christ
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A Gospel Meetings Purpose

The Light
Volume 3 Issue 43   September 30, 2012