It is hard to believe that another gospel meeting begins next week.  Why, it seems like just yesterday Matthew Allen was here presenting lesson to us and encouraging us to grow in our relationships with God.  Brother Jeff Hamilton will be arriving soon and he will be presenting lessons that will challenge us to think about our relationship with God as he is our creator.
To help prepare our minds for his upcoming meeting I wanted to again to bring to your remembrance some things which I have left with you before.  Below you will find a list of four things the Gospel Meeting should do.
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).  Sometimes the gospel message gets lost in our world today.  More and more churches are trying to use gimmicks to get people to come here a special speaker.  This needs to be the primary focus   We should be using nothing more than the truth.  We should be presenting it even it is it unpopular to hear.  We should be presenting it even if the masses rebuke us.  In season and out of season Paul says.  It is our duty to hold up the truth (I Tim. 3:15).  We will be held accountable if we fail.  So, as you make last minute pushes to encourage people to come to the meeting I encourage you to remind them that they will hear nothing more than the Gospel preached.  No gimmicks.  No elaborate schemes.  Just Jesus Christ.  
Gospel meetings are supposed to edify the saintsHeb. 10:25 says,
“…not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another and all the more as you see the day drawing near.“ While there is debate as to what day is implied here, we know that we are to be encouraging one another.  Earlier in this letter it states that we are to do so daily (Heb. 3:13).  Gospel meetings present us an opportunity to see each other daily.  What a golden opportunity to fulfill this divine command.  Each night you can encourage the saints by clearing your schedule and coming to hear the gospel preached.  Each night you can encourage the saints because you view the gospel preached as more important than Monday night, Thursday Night or Friday night football.  Each night you can encourage the saints because you are come even though your day was filled with hardships, turmoil, and you are plum exhausted. 
Gospel meetings are supposed to be for the converting of those who are lost in sin.  Or at least, that is what their original purposes were.  I sometime will read the biographies of old time preachers like Joe Blue.  I suppose he is one of my favorites to read because of the hardships and poverty that he was stricken with in this life.  In them he talked about how gospel meetings, or tent meetings he called them, would last for weeks at a time.  He would talk about how the whole town would come out and listen to the message preached.  While I realize that the whole town won’t come anymore, it doesn’t mean that we should change the focus of the gospel meeting.  We need to be encouraging our gospel meetings to be an “outreach” not an “inpreach.”  That is, we should be inviting our friends, neigbors etc to come to the meeting.  If we have been keeping true with our challenge we should have already invited more than 50 people to the meeting.  You have one more week.  Make the most of it. 
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.  Years ago I preached a lesson called the empty pew.  While I have not preached it here, the idea conveyed in this lesson is something I have shared with you on more than one occasion.  We have those who used to sit on the pew beside you or perhaps in front of you than are no longer with us today.  They perhaps were one of those sowed among the thorns and the world has choked them out.  Or, perhaps they were sown on the rocky soil and when the harsh realities of this world came, they crumbled under the pressure.  Remember, these are those who have believed.  These are those who know the truth. There are those who need restored.  And according to Paul, it is our job to do the restoration (Gal. 6:1-2).  When is the last time you called them?  When is the last time you invited them to services?  When is the last time you sat down and told them how much you still love them?  It is time to remind them that you still care.  Encourage them to come to the meeting so that they might be reminded who God is to them.  

Grinnell church of Christ
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The Gospel Meeting Approaches

The Light
Volume 4 Issue 43