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Table Of Contents
Spiritual Fitness Plan 5
After Baptism, What Then?  8
The Anatomy Of A Backslider  10
Angry Words!  O Let Them Never 13
The Apostasy And Restoration 16
Apostolic Succession 19
Are You A Disciple Of Jesus? 23
Are You An Apatheist? 26
Are You Drifting?  28
Are You ‘High Maintenance’?  32
Are You Ready For Your Journey Into Eternity?  35
Are You The Pastor? 38
Attitudes Needed In Congregational Work  41
Back To The Basics!  45
The Benefits Of A Small Church  49
Biblical Illiteracy 52
Blest Be The Tie 55
Capital Punishment  58
Cease From Anger, And Forsake Wrath  62
The Celebration Of Christmas 67
The Celebration Of Easter  71
Challenges For A Growing Congregation  76
Church Membership 79
The Clarion Voices Of God 81
Cohabitation Before Marriage 84
Commanded To Love 86
Congregational Evangelism 88
Congregational Singing 90
The Conversion Of Saul  92
Cremation Or Burial? 95
Daily Bible Reading (I) 98
Daily Bible Reading (II) 101
Dear Reverend 104
Dig Your Well Before You're Thirsty  106
Disappointments New Christians Face  109
Divine Signposts 112
Emotion Vs. Emotionalism  115
Evangelism Made Easy 118
Evangelism Made Personal  121
Examples Worth Following 126
Faith In The Community 129
Faith In The Family 131
Faith In The Workplace 134
Follow-up: Definition & Importance 136
Follow-up: Factors Affecting Follow-up 138
Getting Ready To Grow  142
God Hates Divorce! 145
God Loves Families! 148
God’s Great Book  150
The Gospel According To Isaiah  153
Gospel Meetings - Keys To A Successful Meeting  156
Gospel Meetings - Why Should We Attend Them? 159
Gospel Meetings - Why Some Succeed, Others Fail  161
Gospel Meetings - Now Our Meeting Is Over  164
The Gospel Of Christ  167
The Gospel Of The Grace Of God  170
Grace And The Christian  173
The Great Commission According To Matthew 176
The Great Commission According To Mark 178
The Great Commission According To Luke 181
The Greatest Need 183
Growing Old Gracefully  187
Heaven Will Surely Be Worth It All 192
The High Cost Of A Free Gift  194
Honk! - Lessons From Geese 197
How Much Should I Give? 199
How Well Do You Listen?  203
I Am Coming, Lord! 207
Into All The World  209
Is Your Baptism Scriptural? 213
Jesus, My Lord  217
Jesus Our Shepherd 220
The Laying On Of Hands 222
Laying Up Treasure In Heaven 225
Let’s Make A Deal!  228
The Lord’s Supper 231
The Lostness Of The Lost 235
Love Your Enemies 237
Making Wise Choices  239
The Measure Of A Strong Christian  242
The Measure Of A Strong Church  245
Music In New Testament Worship (I) 248
Music In New Testament Worship (II) 251
The Nature Of Faith 255
The Need For Vision  258
A New Creation  261
The Old Testament And The Christian  264
The Parable Of The Lifesaving Station  269
The Passion Of The Christ 271
The Path To Salvation 274
Perspectives For Success In Evangelism 277
The Perverted Gospel - Its Message 283
The Perverted Gospel - Its Witness 286
The Power Of An Invitation 289
Prescription For Spiritual Health  291
Principles Of Church Growth 294
Private Devotions 297
The Problem Of Anxiety  299
The Problem Of Religious Division  302
The Providence Of God 305
A Reason For Our Hope  308
Reflections On The Loss Of A Loved One 312
Resolutions For A New Millennium  315
Resolutions For The New Year  317
Responding To Materialism  320
The Sabbath Day 323
Same-Sex Marriage 328
Secrets Of The Abundant Life  331
Shall We Dance?  335
The Significance Of The Birth Of Jesus 339
The Significance Of The Resurrection Of Christ  341
The Single Christian  344
The Sovereign Rule Of God 347
Spirituality In Youth 350
Spiritual Well Being 352
Studying With JWs  355
Support Your Local Church! 361
Take Time To Be Holy 364
To Seek Or To Serve? 367
The Three Loves Of A Disciple 370
The Uniqueness Of The Bible  372
The Value Of Secret Prayer 377
The Virtue Of Punctuality 380
We Should Remember The Poor 383
What Can Kill A Church  386
What Does Jesus Require Of You? 389
What God Has Joined 392
What Is Evangelism? 395
What Is The Church Of Christ?  397
What It Takes To Be Interested In The Lord’s Work 403
What Mothers Deserve 405
What Shall I Wear?  407
What To Look For In A Church 410
What Visitors Have A Right To Expect 413
When Disasters Strike 417
When The Election Is Over 420
Who Killed Jesus? 423
Why Are You Waiting?  425
Why Attend Every Service?  429
Why Did Jesus Die On The Cross? 433
Why Did Jesus Suffer? 435
A Woman’s Contribution To The Local Congregation  439
Would We Have Believed Them?  442
What Would Jesus Desire? 445


Spiritual Fitness Plan
INTRODUCTION
1. In the late 1950s, there was an exercise program called (Five Basic Exercises)...
a. Developed for the Royal Canadian Air Force
b. Published as a booklet with 23 million copies sold in Canada
c. Consisted of five exercises to be done daily in 11 minutes
2. In this lesson, I would like to suggest a similar plan...
a. Designed for Christians, to aid their spiritual growth and development
   b. Consisting of five spiritual exercises to be done daily (though not in 11 minutes!)
[I call it the Spiritual Fitness Plan.  In the original plan, the first exercise involved
stretching.  Our spiritual plan begins with a daily regimen that will stretch our souls...]
I. READ THE WORD OF GOD
A. THE WORD OF GOD...
1. The means by which we grow spiritually - 1Pe 2:2
2. Read the Psalmist’s valuation of the Word - Ps 19:7-10
3. It was by the Word of God that Jesus resisted the devil - Mt 4:4,7,10
4. It is by God’s Word in our hearts that we can resist sin - Ps 119:11
-- The Word of God is therefore foundational to our spiritual fitness
B. READING THE WORD...
1. Develop the habit of reading the Word daily
2. Start slow; perhaps with the NT, a chapter a day
3. Progress to reading the Bible through each year
4. Read devotionally, meditating on what you read
-- The Word of God will help you to grow in grace and knowledge
[In the original plan, the second exercise involved sit-ups to strengthen the midsection.  Our 
spiritual plan involves a spiritual exercise that will empower our souls...]
II. SPEND TIME IN PRAYER
A. THE POWER OF PRAYER...
1. There is forgiveness from God - Ac 8:22; 1Jn 1:7-10
2. There is peace from God - Php 4:6-7
3. There is strength from God - Ep 3:14-16,20
4. There is opportunity from God - Col 4:3
5. There is boldness from God - Ep 6:19-20
6. There is wisdom from God - Jm 1:5-8
7. There is healing from God - Jm 5:14-16
8. There is tranquility from God - 1Ti 2:1-4
-- Together with the Word, prayer is foundational to spiritual fitness

B. PRAYING FERVENTLY...
1. As you read the Word of God, pray for wisdom
2. Pray daily for forgiveness, strength, opportunity, boldness
3. As needed, pray for peace, healing, tranquility
4. Continue earnestly in prayer, vigilant in with thanksgiving - Col 4:2
-- Consistent, fervent prayer will strengthen your relationship with God
[In the original plan, the third exercise involved back extension that increased flexibility. Our 
spiritual plan involves a spiritual exercise that will enrich our souls...]
III.SING PRAISES
A. THE ROLE OF SINGING...
1. One purpose of singing is to praise God - Ac 16:25
2. It is a type of spiritual sacrifice that we offer to God - He 13:15
3. A way to be filled with grace and melody in our hearts - Col 3:16; Ep 5:19
4. A way to respond to the goodness of God - Jm 5:13
-- Singing praises is foundational to our spiritual well-being
B. SINGING PRAISES...
1. Make praising God in song a part of your daily devotional
2. Either by listening to hymns or singing them yourself
3. Sing while you drive, while you work, either quietly or aloud
4. Make melody in your heart, sing with grace in your heart 
-- Singing enriches our souls and fortifies our relationship with God
[The fourth exercise in the original plan was pushups to strengthen the upper body.  Our spiritual 
plan involves a spiritual activity that strengthens our relationship with God and other Christians...]
IV. FELLOWSHIP WITH BRETHREN
A. THE IMPORTANCE OF FELLOWSHIP...
1. The church is the body of Christ which is built up when each part does its share - Ep 4:15-16
2. Our assembling is designed to stir one another to love and good works - He 10:24-25
3. Our fellowship is a source of comfort and edification - 1Th 5:11
4. A way to avoid becoming hardened by the deceitfulness of sin - He 3:12-14
-- Frequent fellowship is crucial to remaining faithful and steadfast
B. EXPERIENCING FELLOWSHIP...
1. Assemble together with Christians every opportunity you can
2. Take advantage of the assemblies offered by the local congregation
3. Not just one time on Sunday, but every time the door is open
4. Look for ways to be with Christians daily - by phone, Bible studies, social activities
-- Fellowship with other Christians strengthens one’s faith in God and Christ
[The fifth and final exercise in the original was running in place or walking to increase 
endurance.  Our spiritual plan includes spiritual activity that produces endurance as well...]
V. DO GOOD WORKS

A. THE ROLE OF GOOD WORKS...
1. We are not saved by good works - Ep 2:8-9; Tit 3:4-5
2. But we are created in Christ for good works, to glorify God - Ep 2:10; Mt 5:16
3. Thus we are to be fruitful in every good work - Col 1:10
4. We are not to grow weary in doing good - 1Co 15:58; Ga 6:9-10
-- Good works are essential if we are going reap spiritual benefits
B. DOING GOOD WORKS...
1. Share the gospel with the lost
2. Minister to brethren and to the lost in need, whether physical or spiritual
3. Utilize your resources (time, money, talents) to help the poor or sick
4. Each day try to do something that blesses another person
-- Good works, done systematically, builds spiritual endurance
CONCLUSION
1. We have seen that the Spiritual Fitness Plan contains these five elements...
a. Read The Word Of God
b. Spend Time In Prayer
c. Sing Praises
d. Fellowship With Brethren
e. Do Good Works
2. Engaged in daily, I believe they go a long way to developing strong Christians...
a. But please note that these are “basic” exercises
b. I am not suggesting they are everything a Christian needs to do
c. However, they will establish a good foundation of spiritual fitness
Perhaps you might find this “plan” helpful as you seek to carry out the admonition given by Paul to the 
young man Timothy...
“...exercise yourself toward godliness. For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness 
is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to 
come.” - 1Ti 4:7-8

After Baptism, What Then?
INTRODUCTION
1. Wonderful blessings come to those who respond to the gospel of Christ in baptism...
a. They receive remission of sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit - Ac 2:38-39
b. They experience a washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit - Ti 3:5-7
2. Indeed, by God’s grace they are “saved”...
a. Saved from their past sins - cf. Mk 16:16
b. With sins washed away by the blood of Jesus - Ac 22:16; Ep 1:7
c. Becoming heirs according to hope of eternal life - Ti 3:7
3. Yet in another sense, they are still to be “saved”...
a. They must make their call and election sure - 2Pe 1:10
b. They must be careful to save themselves - cf. 1 Ti 4:16
c. They must remain faithful to receive the crown of life - Re 2:10
[What is one to do after baptism that will ensure remaining faithful to the Lord? There are some...]
I. THINGS TO REMEMBER
A. YOU ARE A NEW CREATURE...
1. By virtue of being in Christ - 2 Co 5:17
2. Having been raised with Christ to walk in newness of life - Ro 6:3-4
-- God has given you new potential for living!
B. YOU ARE A BABE IN CHRIST...
1. We begin our new life as “babes in Christ” - 1 Co 3:1
2. We start with spiritual “milk” - 1 Co 3:2
-- God allows you time to grow! - cf. He 5:12-14
C. YOU ARE IN A CRITICAL PERIOD...
1. As a babe, you can be easily “tossed about” - cf. Ep 4:14
2. Satan often strikes hardest at the beginning of our service - e.g., Mt 4:1-11
-- Satan would love to see you fail! - cf. 1Pe 5:8
D. YOU FACE THE POSSIBILITY OF FALLING...
1. If you allow yourself to hardened by the deceit of sin - He 3:12-14
2. Especially when you think you are strong - 1 Co 10:12
-- God can be trusted to help us through temptations - cf. 1 Co 10:13; 1 Jn 2:1-2
E. YOU ARE TO BE A GOOD EXAMPLE...
1. An example of those who believe - 1 Ti 4:12
2. An example in both deed and word - Ti 2:7
-- Others should be able to look to you as to how to live for Christ - cf. Ph 3:17
[Remembering such things will certainly help keep one strong in the faith.  Also helpful are...]

II. THINGS TO DO
A. PUT GOD FIRST...
1. Love Him with all your being - Mt 22:37
2. Seek first His kingdom and righteousness - Mt 6:33
-- This will ensure that you do all that is necessary to remain faithful!
B. STUDY THE WORD OF GOD...
1. Long for the Word, like an infant longs for milk - 1Pe 2:2
2. Emulate the Bereans in their attitude - Ac 17:11
-- Receive the Word with meekness, and it will save you! - cf. Jm 1:21
C. BE FERVENT IN PRAYER...
1. Jesus has made it possible to approach God’s throne - He 4:14-16
2. Wonderful blessings come through prayer - Ph 4:6-7
-- Be devoted to prayer, with an attitude of thanksgiving - cf. Co 4:2
D. BE DILIGENT IN ASSEMBLING...
1. We are not to forsake our assembling together - He 10:24-25
2. It is a time for fellowship, prayer, and on the first day of the week, the Lord’s Supper - Ac
2:42; 20:7; 1 Co 11:23-26
-- Neglecting the assemblies is a symptom of spiritual stagnation!
E. HELP SAVE OTHERS...
1. The Lord wants His disciples to make more disciples - Mt 28:19-20
2. Those diligent in saving others are more likely to save themselves - cf. 1 Co 9:19-27
-- Lose your enthusiasm for saving souls, and you may lose your own!
CONCLUSION
1. While not meant to be exhaustive, these are just a few...
a. Things to remember
b. Things to do
-- That may be helpful for someone recently baptized
2. But not just for new Christians; for any Christian...
a. Who has left their “first love” - Re 2:4
b. For they should “repent and do the first works” - Re 2:5
-- These are some of the “first works” that one needs to do
Are you in need of doing the “first works”...?  Perhaps you even need to obey the “first steps” of the 
gospel of Christ... - cf. Mk 16:16; Ac 2:38; 22:16

The Anatomy Of A Backslider
INTRODUCTION
1. In 2Pe 2:20-22, we read of the real possibility and serious consequences of backsliding
2. It is interesting that we find this passage coming from the inspired pen of Peter...
a. For if anyone knew “firsthand” the reality and dangers of backsliding, it was Peter!
b. As he discovered the night he denied Jesus!
3. The process of backsliding is a gradual one, often overtaking a person by surprise; and lest  we fall
from our own steadfastness...
a. We shall carefully examine the process that led to Peter’s denial of Christ
b. Followed by noticing how Peter’s own words in his epistles are designed to prevent the same
from happening to us!
I. THE ANATOMY OF A BACKSLIDER
A. PRIDE - Mk 14:27-31
1. In a boastful manner, Peter claims he will not fall away or deny Christ!
2. In doing so, Peter takes the first step in backsliding:  “pride”! - cf. Pro 16:18
3. Why is this the “first” step?
a. Because the first step in entering the kingdom is humility - Mt 18:3-4
b. So if we lose “humility”, we take that first step backward
4. Paul’s advice to the Corinthians is very apropos in this regard - cf. 1 Co 10:11
B. LAZINESS - Mk 14:32-42
1. Told to keep watch, Peter kept falling asleep
2. It was therefore lack of diligent preparation which caused him to be caught off guard for
what was to follow
3. The same thing can happen to us!
a. Without diligence, we too can be found unprepared - cf. Lk 21:34-36
b. More often than not, it is a “gradual drifting” that catches us off guard - cf. He 2:1-3
c. But when proud of ourselves, we become lazy, and that easily leads to the next step...
C. COWARDICE - Mk 14:54
1. Note that it says “...Peter followed Him at a distance”
2. Now that Jesus had become unpopular...
a. Peter stays far enough away so as not to be identified with Him
b. Peter was unprepared for the challenge of facing ridicule and persecution
3. Without diligent preparation, we too can become guilty of cowardice!
a. Ashamed to be seen carrying a Bible
b. Ashamed to be seen giving thanks
c. Ashamed to be seen with other Christians
d. Perhaps even ashamed to let others know that we are Christians!
4. And yet, Jesus has made it clear what He thinks of “cowardice” - cf. Mk 8:38; Re 21:8
5. When we are ashamed of Christ, it is natural for to fall into the next step of backsliding...

D. WORLDLINESS - Mk 14:54
1. We now find Peter sitting with the servants of the High Priest and warming himself by the
fire
2. Ashamed to be seen with Christ, it becomes easy to mingle with those of the world and
enjoy their comforts
3. But one cannot be “comforted by the fire” of the world, and not be “burned”!
a. Close contact with that which can harm has its effects! - cf. Pr 6:27-29
b. So it is we cannot “flirt with the world” and walk away untouched! - 1 Co 15:33
4. By the time we becomes “friends with the world”, it is only a short time before we take the
next and final step of backsliding...
E. DENIAL - Mk 14:66-71
1. Away from Christ, at comfort with those in the world, Peter finds himself denying His Lord
and Savior!
2. In so doing, he has put himself in grave danger - cf. Mt 10:32-33
3. Though we may never actually deny Jesus in “words”, we can easily backslide to the point
of denying Him in “action”...
a. We are called to worship Him . . . but make excuses why we cannot
b. We are called to serve Him . . . but render little or no service
c. We are called to stand by His side and suffer for His name...but stand afar off in the
safety of the world’s comfort
[When we deny the Lord, our backsliding is complete; unless we repent, the only thing left is to one day 
face the Lord, where we will fully realize the error of our ways!  For Peter, he fully realized his sin when 
the Lord turned and looked at him there in the courtyard (cf. Lk 22:60-62).  Imagine the feeling in 
Peter’s heart as those eyes of His Savior pierced his soul!  Like Judas, Peter wept bitterly over his sin.
Unlike Judas, Peter had “godly sorrow” that results in true repentance (cf. 2 Co 7:10-11).  And years 
later, we find Peter writing the sort of things that would prevent us from making the same mistake he 
did...]
II. ADVICE FROM ONE WHO LEARNED THE HARD WAY
A. TO GUARD AGAINST “PRIDE”...
1. Peter enjoins “humility” - 1Pe 5:5-6
2. Indeed, “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble”
B. TO WARD AGAINST “LAZINESS”...
1. Peter commands “diligence” - 1Pe 5:8-9
2. Note especially his words in his second epistle - 2Pe 1:5,10; 3:14
C. INSTEAD OF “COWARDICE”...
1. Peter charges us to “glorify God” - 1Pe 4:16
2. Think not of what it means to you, but what it means to God!
D. INSTEAD OF “WORLDLINESS”...
1. Peter tells us to “abstain” - 1Pe 2:11-12
2. Remember that we are “sojourners and pilgrims”, destined for a better place than the things
of this world have to offer!

E. INSTEAD OF “DENIAL”...
1. Peter exhorts us to ever be ready to “give a defense” - 1Pe 3:15
2. By careful preparation, we will “defend” Christ, and not “deny” Christ!
CONCLUSION
1. From one who learned by the hard road of experience, let’s heed his advice lest we one day
backslide ourselves, and in so doing deny the Lord! - cf. 2Pe 3:17-18
2. Remember too that when Peter saw the eyes of his Lord, he realized the error of his way...
a. Fortunately for him, there was still time to repent
b. But for us, when we see Jesus “face to face”, the time to repent will be gone...it will be the time
for judgment!
3. If we realize that we are guilty of backsliding...
a. Repent now, do not wait until you stand before Jesus
b. Do it now, so that your “face to face” encounter with Jesus will be terrific, not terrifying!

Angry Words!  O Let Them Never
INTRODUCTION
1. Many of the songs we sing are designed to teach and admonish - cf. Co 3:16
2. One such song is “Angry Words!  O Let Them Never”...
a. Words written by D. K. P.
b. Melody arranged by H.R. Palmer, Will W. Slater
-- In “Hymns For Worship”, it is song #394, entitled “Love One Another”
3. A favorite of many, it is a song...
a. With valuable advice in our dealings with one another as members of God’s family
b. Warning against disrupting friendship and love through unthoughtful use of the tongue
[In both verse one and three, the focus is on...]
I. THE NEED TO BRIDLE THE TONGUE
A. THE TONGUE IS POWERFUL...
1. It is difficult to control
a. It has the power to control the whole body - Jm 3:2-5
b. For it reflects the true expression of the inward man - cf. Mt 12:34-35
2. It has power to do good and evil
a. To turn away wrath, or stir up anger - Pro 15:1
b. To use knowledge wisely, or pour forth foolishness - Pro 15:2
c. To be a tree of life, or a breaker of spirits - Pro 15:4
-- “Angry words! O let them never from the tongue unbridled slip; May the heart’s
best impulse ever check them ere they soil the lip.”  
B. THE ADVANTAGES OF RESTRAINT...
1. Avoids sin - Pro 10:19
2. Keeps one out of trouble - Pro 21:23
3. Makes one to appear wise - Pro 17:27-28
4. Uncontrolled tongues can destroy friendships
a. Poorly chosen words, unthoughtful and rashly spoken words
b. Can make even the closest friends become enemies - e.g., Ps 55:12-14
-- “Angry words are lightly spoken, bitterest thoughts are rashly stirred, brightest
links of life are broken, by a single angry word.”
C. HOW THEN SHALL WE USE THE TONGUE...?
1. If for good, our words can be:
a. Sweet to the soul - Pro 16:24
b. A thing of beauty, like apples of gold in settings of silver - Pro 25:11
2. But if for evil, then beware:
a. We will be judged by our words - Mt 12:36-37
b. We will defile our bodies (and our friendships!) - Jm 3:6

[To encourage the proper use of the tongue, the song in verse two and the chorus reminds us of...]
II. THE IMPORTANCE OF FRIENDSHIP AND LOVE
A. THE BLESSINGS OF FRIENDSHIP...
1. Some of the most beautiful passages in the Bible were expressions between friends
a. Ruth’s love for her mother-in-law, Naomi - Rut 1:16-17
b. Jonathan’s devotion to his friend, David - 1 Sam 18:1
c. Jesus’ love for His disciple, John - Jn 19:25-27
d. Paul’s love for his coworker, Timothy - 2 Ti 1:1-4
2. Good friends provide wonderful benefits
a. A true friend is “a man for all seasons” - Pro 17:17
b. A true friend can be closer than blood relatives - Pro 18:24
c. The rebuke of a true friend is of more value than the praise of an enemy - Pro 27:6
d. The advice of a true friend can be precious - Pro 27:9
e. Seek to hang on to good friends - Pro 27:10a
-- “Love is much too pure and holy, friendship is too sacred far, for a moment’s
reckless folly thus to desolate and mar.” 
B. THE NEED TO LOVE ONE ANOTHER...
1. Our Savior teaches us to do so
a. A new commandment, to love as He loved us - Jn 13:34-35
b. Stressed again and again - Jn 15:12,17
2. It is a “blest” command
a. Love will avoid offending another with loose words - 1 Co 13:4-5a
1) Love suffers long (patient)
2) Love is kind
3) Love does not envy (not jealous of others’ good fortune)
4) Love does not parade itself (does not brag about itself)
5) Love is not puffed up (not arrogant)
6) Love does not behave rudely (not inconsiderate of others’ feelings)
b. Love will not allow loose words offend it - 1 Co 13:5b-8a
1) Love does not seek its own (not defensive)
2) Love is not provoked (not sensitive)
3) Love thinks no evil (assumes the best intention)
4) Love does not rejoice in iniquity, but in truth (concerned more about truth than
winning)
5) Love bears all things (puts up with snide remarks, slights)
6) Love believes all things (gives others the benefit of the doubt)
7) Love hopes all things (looks for the best in others)
8) Love endures all things (including hurt feelings by unkind or unthoughtful words)
9) Love never fails (to show patience, compassion, forgiveness)
-- “‘Love one another’, thus says the Savior; Children, obey His blest command.”
CONCLUSION
1. Friendship is too holy to let loose words in reckless moments destroy it...
a. Especially between brethren in Christ
b. Whose love is to be a mark of true discipleship - Jn 13:35

2. True love values friendship so highly, that it will resolve...
a. To say nothing that unnecessarily endangers our friendship
b. To let nothing that is said, no matter how hurtful, to destroy our friendship
May this song, “Angry Words! O Let Them Never” serve to remind us of the blessing and duty we 
have regarding our love and friendship as disciples of Christ!
Have you become a disciple of Jesus Christ...? - cf. Mt 28:19-20

The Apostasy And Restoration
INTRODUCTION
1. The New Testament reveals the establishment and early growth of the church...
a. The church Jesus said He would build - Mt 16:18
b. The church Paul wrote that Jesus loved - Ep 5:25-27
2. The Lord’s will is that there be one church...
a. He prayed for the unity of His followers - Jn 17:20-23
b. Paul later wrote that there is one body (i.e., church) - Ep 4:4-6; cf. 1:22-23
3. Yet we see around us so much religious confusion, so many different churches...
a. How did it happen?
b. What can disciples of Christ today do about it?
[In the first place, we really should not be surprised by the plethora of different churches.  For in the 
Bible itself we read that there would be an “apostasy” (falling away)...]
I. THE APOSTASY FORETOLD
A. BY THE APOSTLE PAUL...
1. In warning the Ephesian elders - Ac 20:27-31
a. Of “wolves” coming in from outside the flock
b. Of men “from among yourselves” drawing disciples away
2. In warning the church at Thessalonica - 2 Th 2:1-3
a. Of a great “falling away” that must come
b. Revealing “the man of sin”, “the son of perdition”
3. In warning the evangelist Timothy - 1 Ti 4:1-3; 2 Ti 4:1-4
a. Describing how some will “depart from the faith”
1) Giving heed to “deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons”
2) Forbidding to marry, commanding to abstain from meats
b. Describing how some will “not endure sound doctrine”
1) Getting teachers who will tell them what they want to hear
2) Turning from the truth, turning aside to fables
B. BY PETER, JUDE, AND JOHN...
1. Peter warned of false teachers to come - 2Pe 2:1-2
a. Who will bring in destructive heresies
b. Whom many will follow
2. Jude warned of false teachers who were present - Ju 3-4
a. Who had crept in unnoticed
b. Who were turning the grace of God into lewdness
c. Who were denying the Lord God and the Lord Jesus Christ
3. John warned of “antichrists” who had come - 1 Jn 2:18-19
a. Many, in fact, had come!
b. Indicative of living in the “last hour”

[As Jesus had warned, there would be false prophets (Mt 7:15).  Before the canon of the New Testament 
was completed, the apostasy was already underway.  As one examines early church history, there are 
further indications of...]
II. THE APOSTASY FULFILLED
A. A GRADUAL PROCESS...
1. In many cases, innocent at first
a. Attempting to deal with errors in and out of the church
b. Leading to a change in the organization of the church
1) From autonomous and independent congregations overseen by a plurality of elders
(also known as bishops and pastors) - cf. Ac 14:23; 20:17,28; 1Pe 5:1-2
2) To a collectivity of churches under one bishop - e.g., Ignatius
c. Resulting in centralization of power and influence among key individuals
2. This subtle change made it much easier for error to spread
a. When those in power began teaching false doctrine
b. Before long, the very errors foretold by Paul were being taught - cf. 1 Ti 4:1-3
3. Through slow but gradual changes, the seeds of modern churches were sown
a. Producing what later became known as the Roman Catholic Church
b. But also many other “orthodox” churches (Greek, Egyptian, Russian, Armenian, etc.)
-- Just as foretold, many departed from the simplicity of the Lord’s church
B. WHAT OF THE LORD’S CHURCH...?
1. I believe the Lord’s church continued on
a. For not even the gates of Hades could prevail against it - Mt 16:18
b. It is a kingdom that cannot be destroyed - cf. Dan 2:44; Lk 1:32-33
c. Wherever there are faithful disciples, though few and unknown, the church exists - cf.
Ac 2:47
2. Faithful disciples would have undoubtedly been treated as heretics
a. For refusing to follow those in “power”
b. By those presuming to have “authority” over the Lord’s flock
-- History may not record (or may misrepresent) the existence of those who remained
faithful, but the Lord knows His own!
[Throughout the history of the apostasy, many have come to realize what has happened, and efforts 
made to rectify the problem...]
III.REACTIONS TO THE APOSTASY
A. EFFORTS OF REFORMATION...
1. Attempts by those within to reform what they saw as the “apostate” church
2. Some reformers were persecuted, either executed or expelled (e.g., Luther)
3. Followers of such reformers often started new churches (e.g., Lutheran)
-- The end result was denominationalism
B. APPEALS TO REVELATION...
1. Some claimed modern day revelation as a solution (e.g., Joseph Smith, Ellen G. White)
2. Believing the Lord was using them to lead people out of religious confusion
3. Followers of these “prophets” started many more churches (e.g., Mormon)

-- The end result was even more denominationalism
C. CALLS FOR RESTORATION...
1. There have been many calls for “restoration”
a. Some seeking to restore the Lord’s church (as though it had been lost)
b. Others seeking to restore people back to the Lord’s church (which has always existed)
2. In both cases, efforts usually centered around restoring the New Testament pattern for the
local church (organization, worship, work, etc.)
3. In many cases, the efforts appear to have been short-lived
a. One generation may have truly been restored to the Lord’s way
b. Yet some in that generation and others to follow simply repeated the process of
apostasy (e.g., the International Church of Christ)
-- The end result often being even more denominationalism!
CONCLUSION
1. Of the three (reformation, revelation, restoration), I believe the Biblical response is restoration...
a. As illustrated by the restoration of the Jews after Babylonian captivity
b. As illustrated by the restorative work of John the Baptist - cf. Lk 1:16-17
-- We must be restored back to the church of the New Testament
2. Yet the principle of restoration works provided we...
a. Allow the Word of God to be our only guide and authority - cf. Ac 20:32; 2 Ti 3:16-17
b. Do not allow traditions of men to replace the commands of God - cf. Mt 15:3-9
-- Otherwise we plant the seeds of apostasy and denominationalism all over again!
3. As followers of Jesus, we do well to imitate His service to God while on earth...
a. Living under the Law of Moses which was in force at that time, He was simply a Jew (not a
Pharisee, Sadducee, etc.)
b. Living under the law of Christ (1 Co 9:21) today,  we should simply be Christians, not members
of some denominational party - cf. 1 Co 1:10-13
What are you religiously?  Involved with the descendants of the apostasy foretold in the Scriptures?  
One of those whose response to the falling away has resulted in only another denomination?  
Why not simply be a Christian, by letting the Word of God restore you back to the church of our Lord as 
revealed in the New Testament...? - cf. Ac 2:36-42,47

Apostolic Succession
INTRODUCTION
1. In Mt 16:18 Jesus promised to build His church...
a. A church built on a solid foundation
b. A church that would never be destroyed
2. Where is His church today...?
a. There are many churches claiming to be “the one true church”
b. Is it possible to know which church is the “true church”?
[Many people believe that the answer is to be found in...]
I. THE DOCTRINE OF APOSTOLIC SUCCESSION
A. THE DOCTRINE DEFINED...
1. Apostolic succession is the line of bishops stretching back to the apostles. - Catholic
Answers, Apostolic Succession (San Diego: Catholic Answers, 2001)
2. All over the world, all Catholic bishops can have their lineage of predecessors traced back
to the time of the apostles, something that is impossible in Protestant denominations (most of
which do not even claim to have bishops). - ibid.
3. The Church Fathers, who were links in that chain of succession, regularly appealed to
apostolic succession as a test for whether Catholics or heretics had correct doctrine. - ibid.
-- Such is the view as defined by Roman Catholic sources
B. THE DOCTRINE DELINEATED...
1. The Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, Nestorian and
Anglican Churches hold that apostolic succession is maintained through the ordination of
bishops in unbroken personal succession back to the apostles but do not necessarily
interpret this ‘succession’ identically. - Wikipedia
2. Roman Catholics recognize the validity of the apostolic successions of the Eastern
Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox churches (such recognition is not reciprocated by the
Eastern Orthodox...) - ibid.
3. The Roman Catholic church believes that the Anglican Church’s ordinations are invalid
because of changes made to the rite of ordination under Edward VI, thus denying that
Anglicans participate in the apostolic succession. - ibid.
4. The Armenian Apostolic Church, which is one of the Oriental Orthodox churches,
recognizes Roman Catholic episcopal consecrations without qualification (and that
recognition is reciprocated). - ibid.
5. Some Protestant churches, especially Anglicans (including those known in the USA as
Episcopalians), and also Moravians and some Lutherans, do have Apostolic
Succession (also known as the "historic episcopate"). - ibid.
6. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) has a similar, but unique position.
a. The LDS claims that apostolic succession was broken during the Great Apostasy, or
falling away from the teachings of Jesus Christ, and later restored in America. - ibid.
b. The LDS Church maintains that God the Father and His son, Jesus Christ, appeared to
Joseph Smith, Jr. near Palmyra, New York in 1820 and called Joseph as a prophet to
restore Christ's church and correct doctrines and practices to the earth. - ibid.
-- Thus the view is held with some variation by different churches
C. THE DOCTRINE DEFENDED...
1. Based on Scripture
a. Mt 16:18 - the assumption is made that apostolic succession is necessary for Jesus’
promise concerning the church to be fulfilled
b. Ac 20:17,28 - from this passage some assume authority to govern the church universal
c. 2 Ti 2:2 - this passage is offered as proof of apostolic succession
2. Based on tradition
a. The Church Fathers, who were links in that chain of succession, regularly appealed to
apostolic succession as a test for whether Catholics or heretics had correct doctrine. 
- Catholic Answers
b. Those who argued for the doctrine apostolic succession include:
1) Irenaeus (A.D. 189)
2) Tertullian (A.D. 200)
3) Cyprian of Carthage (A.D. 253)
4) Jerome (A.D. 396)
5) Augustine (A.D. 397)
-- See http://www.catholic.com/library/Apostolic_Succession.asp for quotes
[The doctrine of apostolic succession certainly has it advocates.  But it is a doctrine with problems upon 
close examination...]
II. THE PROBLEM WITH APOSTOLIC SUCCESSION
A. THE DOCTRINE DEVALUED...
1. Based on Scripture
a. Mt 16:18 - if the church universal is the mystical body of Christ, it’s continuation is not
dependent upon a physical succession of church leaders; it requires only the Head
(Christ) and members (Christians)
b. Ac 20:17,28 - this passage only authorizes the authority of elders (bishops) over a local
congregation; no authority is given over the church universal
c. 2 Ti 2:2 - a succession of teachers was the goal; nothing in this passage supports an
unbreakable succession of leaders whose authority was to be unquestioned
d. Ac 12:1-2 - when the apostles James was beheaded, no successor was appointed to
replace him
2. Based on history
a. The appeal to apostolic succession did not appear before A.D. 170-200 - Elwell
Evangelical Dictionary
b. All early succession lists were compiled late in the second century - ibid.
c. It was developed as a means to counter Gnostic and other heresies
d. It became a convenient way to assert validity and authority, taking precedent over
appealing to the Word of God
-- Today, different churches use their “succession lists” to prove their claim to be the
true church; which one are we to believe?
B. THE DOCTRINE DESTRUCTED...
1. An apostasy was foretold by the apostles - 1 Ti 4:1-3; 2 Th 2:1-3; 2Pe 2:1-3
 21
2. Even some appointed by the apostles would fall away - Ac 20:29-30
3. Those who taught differently from the apostles were to be rejected - cf. Ga 1:6-9
4. Those who first claimed apostolic succession were already teaching things different from
what the apostles’ taught
a. E.g., they taught a distinction between bishops and elders (contra Paul and Peter)
b. Those who first claimed apostolic succession were heretics themselves!
5. Those who claim apostolic succession today teach many things in addition and contrary to
the teachings of Christ and His inspired apostles
a. The concept of apostolic succession therefore did not prevent apostasy
b. Claiming a historical connection does not prove faithfulness; apostates in the line of
succession would render such claims untrustworthy
-- Claims of apostolic succession were first made by early apostates; the doctrine of
those claiming apostolic succession today is far removed from apostolic teaching
[Yes, churches claiming apostolic succession today differ quite a bit from the church as revealed in the 
New Testament.  If apostolic succession does not prevent apostasy, what will...?]
III.THE ANSWER TO APOSTOLIC SUCCESSION
A. THE INDESTRUCTIBLE WORD OF GOD...
1. The Word of God is like seed
a. It is the seed of the kingdom - Lk 8:11; cf. Mt 13:19
b. It has the power to produce fruit in the hearts of those who receive it - Mt 13:23
2. The Word of God is an incorruptible seed 
a. An incorruptible seed by which we can be born again - 1Pe 1:22-23a; Jm 1:18
b. It lives and abides forever; it endures forever - 1Pe 2:23b-25a
c. It is contained in the gospel of Christ - 1Pe 1:25b
3. The Word of God is sufficient for salvation and godliness
a. Able to save our souls - Jm 1:21
b. Profitable for doctrine, reproof, correction, instruction in righteousness - 2 Ti 3:16
c. Making one complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work - 2 Ti 3:17
d. Providing all things pertaining to life and godliness - 2Pe 1:3
4. The Word of God is the antidote to apostasy
a. The Faith (i.e., the Word of God) has been revealed once for all - Ju 3
b. Paul directed elders to the Word of God, not some doctrine of apostolic succession, as
the protection against apostasy - cf. Ac 20:32
-- We need to appreciate the value of the Word of God to save and secure His people
from the dangers of apostasy!
B. THE SPIRITUAL NATURE OF THE CHURCH...
1. Many have an incorrect view of the universal church (i.e., the kingdom) - Mt 16:18-19
a. That the church is a physical institution, with a hierarchical organization
b. That the organization contains several levels of authority above the local church
c. That the church cannot exist without a physical continuation of the hierarchy
d. That membership requires approval of the hierarchy
2. Yet contrast that with what is revealed by Christ and His apostles
a. The church (or kingdom) is a spiritual institution
1) The kingdom is within you - Lk 17:20-21
2) The kingdom is not of this world - Jn 18:36
 22
3) The kingdom is righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit - Ro 14:17
b. The organization of the church universal is spiritual 
1) Christ is the cornerstone, His apostles and prophets are the foundation, and all
other Christians are ‘living stones’ - cf. Ep 2:19-22; 1Pe 2:5
2) Christ is the Head, Christians are members of His body - 1 Co 12:27; Co 1:18
3) As long as Christ is the Head, His church will exist! - cf. He 12:22-24,28
c. Earthly organization was limited to the local church
1) A local church when scripturally organized had bishops and deacons - Ph 1:1
2) These bishops were also called “elders” or “pastors”, whose role was to oversee
and feed the local congregation - Ac 14:23; 20:17,28; 1Pe 5:1-2
3) The only authority over the universal church on earth were the apostles, and they
were not replaced when they died - e.g., James in Ac 12:2
d. Membership in the church universal is determined by the Lord
1) He is the one who adds people to His body, when they are saved - Ac 2:41,47
2) He knows those who are His - 2 Ti 2:19
3) He only has the right to blot out our names from the book of Life - Re 3:5
-- We need to understand the spiritual nature of the church, to see why there is no
need for ‘apostolic succession’ to preserve the Lord’s church today!
CONCLUSION
1. The doctrine of apostolic succession...
a. Is without true scriptural basis
b. Was devised by false teachers, in an attempt to counter other false teachers
c. Has been used by many different churches, each asserting their own validity and authority
d. Yet has not prevented wholesale apostasy from God and His Word
2. The Lord’s church mentioned in Mt 16:18...
a. Is built on the foundation of Christ and His apostles - Ep 2:19-22
b. Grows whenever people respond to the gospel as proclaimed by the apostles - Ac 2:38-41,47
c. Is manifested wherever people continue in apostolic doctrine, not traditions of men - Ac 2:42
d. Is preserved by the power of God and the all-sufficient, once for all revealed, Word of God 
- Ac 20:32; 2 Ti 3:16-17; Ju 3
By remaining faithful to the incorruptible seed, the Word of God, and by His grace, we will receive that 
“inheritance among all those who are sanctified” (Ac 20:32)...

Are You A Disciple Of Jesus?
INTRODUCTION
1. In The Great Commission, notice Jesus’ command... - Mt 28:18-20
a. “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations...”
b. To “make disciples” is the GOAL of evangelizing the world for Christ
2. Are you a disciple of Jesus...?
a. Perhaps you believe in Jesus
b. You might even be one to attend church services regularly
[But is that what it means to be His disciple?  The purpose in this study is to make clear what is involved 
in being a true disciple of Jesus Christ.  Let’s start with...]
I. THE DEFINITION OF DISCIPLESHIP
A. THE WORD DISCIPLE...
1. Literally means a learner
2. It denotes “one who follows another’s teaching” - Vine’s
3. A disciple was not only a learner, he was also an adherent
4. For this reason disciples were spoken of as imitators of their teachers
B. THE GOAL OF A DISCIPLE...
1. Stated by Jesus himself:  to be like his or her teacher - Lk 6:40
2. To be Jesus’ disciple, then, is to strive to be like Him!
3. This coincides with God’s goal in the redemption of mankind, that we be conformed to the 
image of His Son - Ro 8:29
[Are you trying to follow Jesus and become like Him?  Unless you do, it cannot be said that you are 
His disciple! Jesus gave us some identifying marks which help to further identify a true disciple...]
II. THE MARKS OF DISCIPLESHIP
A. ABIDES IN JESUS’ WORDS...
1. Note what Jesus said to those who believed in Him - Jn 8:31
2. This would imply being a diligent student of the teachings of Christ
3. It also requires one to be a “doer” of the Word - Mt 7:21-27; Jm 1:21-25
B. LOVES THE BRETHREN...
1. Consider what Jesus said to His followers - Jn 13:34-35
2. With a love patterned after the love of Jesus (“as I have loved you”)
3. With a love that is visible to the world (“by this all will know”)
C. BEARS MUCH FRUIT... 
1. Read what Jesus told His disciples - Jn 15:8
2. Notice the word “much” (also found in verse 5)
a. Jesus is not talking about an occasional good deed
 24
b. But a lifestyle which prompts people to glorify God! - Mt 5:16; 1Pe 2:12
3. Failure to bear much fruit will result in being severed from Christ - Jn 15:1-2
[To be a disciple of Jesus Christ means more that just a casual church member.  It requires 
commitment,  especially in regards to: 1) the teachings of Christ, 2) the love of brethren, and 3) 
bearing fruit.  The commitment involved is seen further when we consider...]
III.THE COST OF DISCIPLESHIP
A. JESUS MUST COME FIRST...
1. Made strikingly clear by Jesus Himself - Lk 14:25-26
2. Before anyone else, including members of our own family - Mt 10:34-37
3. Even before one’s own self - Lk 9:23-25
B. WILLING TO SUFFER FOR JESUS...
1. Taking up our own cross to follow Him - Lk 14:27
2. Trying to live godly lives in an ungodly world, we may find that following Christ
sometimes involves ridicule and persecution - 2Ti 3:12
3. Even if we are blessed to escape such things, we must still be willing to expend time and
energy in promoting the cause of Christ in positive ways
C. FORSAKING ALL TO FOLLOW JESUS...
1. Having counted the cost - Lk 14:28-33
2. In other words, Jesus must be King and Lord of our lives
3. Nothing can take precedent over Him and His Will for us
[This cost of discipleship required by Jesus caused many to turn from following Him.  But Jesus wasn’t 
trying to attract large crowds, He wanted disciples!  Is the cost worth it?  I believe so, for consider..] 
IV.THE REWARDS OF DISCIPLESHIP
A. FUTURE BLESSINGS...
1. We shall be saved from the wrath of God which is to come - Ac 17:31; Ro 5:9
2. We can look forward with joyful anticipation of eternity with God, free from sorrow, pain
and death - Re 21:1-8
B. PRESENT BLESSINGS...
1. Jesus offers peace the world cannot give, to calm the troubled heart - Jn 14:27
2. His words inspire joy to lift our spirits out of any depression - Jn 15:11
3. He offers to those who follow Him the abiding love of God, which casts out fear - Jn 15:9; 
1Jn 4:18
4. He makes it possible for us to be members of the family of God - Mk 10:28-30
[There are many other blessings we could mention that are enjoyed by disciples of Jesus; but these 
suffice to demonstrate that though discipleship is costly, the rewards far exceed the cost!
Now that we understand the nature of discipleship, its cost and rewards, I hope that we want to be true 
disciples of Jesus Christ.  How does one begin?  For the answer we return to our text (Mt 28:19-20)...]
 25
V. THE BEGINNING OF DISCIPLESHIP
A. INVOLVES BAPTISM...
1. Why baptism? - cf. Mt 28:19
a. Remember the goal of discipleship:  to be like Jesus
b. He was holy and sinless, yet we are to be like Him
c. Baptism is an act of faith which puts us in contact with the cleansing blood of Jesus so we 
can be forgiven - cf. Ac 2:38; 22:16; Ro 6:3-4
d. It is also the means by which one “puts on Christ” - Ga 3:27
e. So baptism is the logical starting place for true discipleship!
2. What is baptism?
a. An act of submission which must be preceded by faith in Jesus and repentance for our 
sins - Ac 2:36-38; 8:36-37
1) This precludes infant baptism
2) For infants are incapable of believing and repenting
b. An act of submission which involves a burial in water, in which one then rises to walk in 
newness of life through the power of God - Ac 8:38; Ro 6:3-4; Col 2:12
1) This precludes sprinkling or pouring as a mode of baptism
2) For neither of these involve a burial nor an immersion (which is the meaning of the 
Greek word “baptidzo”)
c. When done according to the Word of God, baptism is an act of faith on our part which 
results in a wonderful working of God in our lives!
1) Our sins are washed away by the blood of Jesus - Ac 22:16; Ep 5:25-27
2) We are regenerated and renewed by the Spirit of God so we can now live for
God! - Tit 3:5-6
3) It is truly a rebirth involving both water and the Spirit - Jn 3:5
B. INCLUDES FURTHER TEACHING, OBEDIENCE... 
1. Note carefully what follows baptism - cf. Mt 28:20
2. This brings us back to the very definition of discipleship
3. For Jesus clearly states:
a. We are to be taught (to be learners)
b. We are to observe (to be adherents or doers)
4. Thus we embark on a life devoted to learning and doing all Jesus commanded!
CONCLUSION
1. Only those scripturally baptized and demonstrating the marks of discipleship, despite the costs,
can truly be called disciples of Jesus!
2. Only they can look forward to the rewards of discipleship, and take comfort in Jesus’ promise:
“and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” - Mt 28:20
Have you taken the initial steps in becoming a disciple of Jesus (faith, repentance, and baptism)?  Are 
you becoming more like Him by demonstrating the marks of discipleship in your life...?
 26
Are You An Apatheist?
INTRODUCTION
1. On 12/25/11, USA Today had an article related to apatheism...
a. Entitled “Many Say ‘So What?’ To God, Religion, Atheism”
b. Describing the attitude of those who are ‘spiritually apathetic’
2. This is a condition true of many; according to several polls...
a. 46% never wonder whether they will go to heaven
b. 44% don’t spend time seeking ‘eternal wisdom’
[How about you?  Are you an apatheist?  Let’s take a closer look at ‘apatheism’...]
I. WHAT IS APATHEISM?
A. DEFINED...
1. “acting with apathy, disregard, or lack of interest towards belief or lack of belief in a deity” 
- Wikipedia
2. “describes the manner of acting towards a belief or lack of a belief in a deity; so applies to
both theism and atheism” - ibid.
B. EXPRESSED...
1. An apatheist is also someone who is not interested in accepting or denying any claims that
gods exist or do not exist - ibid. 
2. An apatheist is someone who considers the question of the existence of gods as neither
meaningful nor relevant to his or her life - ibid.
[In regards to whether God exists, whether there is heaven or hell, the apatheist’s creed is “So what?”  
This makes me wonder...]
II. WHAT CAUSES APATHEISM?
A. CONSIDER THE ISRAELITES...
1. Warned by Moses about the danger of materialism - Deu 8:11-14
2. Who deceived themselves when they became rich - Amo 6:3-6; Hos 12:8  
B. CONSIDER THE LAODICEANS...
1. Lukewarm Christians, with whom Jesus was displeased - Re 3:14-16
2. Their spiritual apathy was the result of their materialism - Re 3:17
[When all is well, when materially blessed, it is easy to become spiritually apathetic.  Compare that 
with times of crisis (remember the religious fervor following 9/11?).  Short of some calamity...]
III.WHAT CURES APATHEISM?
A. TRUE REPENTANCE...
1. Brought about by godly sorrow for sin - 2Co 7:9-10
 27
2. Manifested by diligence, fear, desire - 2Co 7:11
3. The kind produced by the Word of God - e.g. Deu 31:10-13
4. Through which we learn of grace, and the penalty of neglecting it! - Ro 2:4-11; He 10:26-31
B. TRUE RELIGION...
1. Many are apathetic because they have not seen or experienced true religion!
2. But Jesus offers that which truly satisfies!
a. He offers the water of life that quenches thirst - Jn 4:13-14; 7:37-39
b. He offers the bread of life that eliminates hunger - Jn 6:35
c. He offers light that dispels darkness - Jn 8:12
d. He offers freedom from the guilt and bondage of sin - Jn 8:34-36
e. He offers the abundant life, filled with joy and peace - Jn 10:10; 14:27; 16:33
3. Which comes by knowing and abiding in His word - Jn 8:31-32
4. As offered to the lukewarm Laodiceans, riches now, and royalty to come! - Re 3:18-22
CONCLUSION
1. What causes apathy regarding religion...?
a. It boils down to ignorance, combined with material well-being
b. Ignorance of God’s Word, preoccupation with material success
2. What can cure apathy regarding religion...?
a. It is simple:  experiential knowledge of salvation
b. Personal knowledge of God’s Word, personal experience of God’s saving grace
Begin by committing yourself to reading and meditating on the Word of God.  It will burn like fire 
within you, leading you to Christ where you will find salvation and joy through the wonderful grace of 
God...!
And they said to one another, “Did not our heart burn within us while He talked with 
us on the road, and while He opened the Scriptures to us?” - Lk 24:32
Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of 
Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. -
Ac 2:38
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, 
faithfulness, gentleness, self- control. Against such there is no law. - Ga 5:22-23
Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may 
abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. - Ro 15:13
 28
Are You Drifting?
INTRODUCTION
1. Billy Norris writes of a tragic event that resulted from “drifting”:
“Two young men were fishing above a low dam on a river near their hometown.  As they were
concentrating on catching fish, they were unaware that they had drifted until they were not far
from the water flowing over the dam.  When they realized their situation, the current near the
dam had become too powerful for them to keep their boat from going over.  Below the dam the
water was dashing with strong force over great boulders and through crevices in the rocks.
Caught by the swirling waters under the rocks, they never came to the surface. After days of
relentless searching, the divers finally found one body, and then, two or three days later, the
other.”  (Gospel Guide)
2. The danger of drifting is not limited to the physical realm...
a. In He 2:1, we find a warning against drifting
b. Sadly, it is not uncommon for Christians to drift toward destruction!
[Brethren, “Are You Drifting?”  Would you know it if you were?  With this lesson I hope to stimulate 
careful introspection regarding the danger of drifting away from the Lord.  Consider...]
I. THINGS WE SHOULD KNOW ABOUT DRIFTING
A. DRIFTING REQUIRES NO EFFORT...
1. Just stop oaring or tacking against the wind, and a boater will begin to drift
2. The same is true for the Christian, which is why we are told:  “We must give the more
earnest heed...” - He 2:1
B. IT IS AN UNCONSCIOUS PROCESS...
1. It is possible to drift unaware
a. In a boat, or undercurrents are often unnoticeable from the surface
b. In a plane, the wind or gravitational forces move the plane without you realizing it
2. The same is true in the spiritual realm
a. Many individual Christians have slowly drifted away
b. Many churches have gradually drifted into error
-- Only one day to find themselves far removed from the Scriptures
C. WE NEVER DRIFT UPSTREAM OR AGAINST THE TIDE...
1. Faithfulness to the Lord is like oaring upstream
2. You must constantly be “adding to your faith...” - 2Pe 1:5
3. You must continue to grow - 2Pe 3:18
-- The moment you stop growing, you start going backwards or downwards
D. THE SPEED DOWNSTREAM INCREASES...
1. The dangers increase with the speed of the drift
a. When we can hear the noise of the waterfall, it is already too late
b. When we lose sight of land, it is less possible to discover that we are drifting
 29
2. As we move farther and farther from the Lord, we care less and less about what we do
E. IT IS DANGEROUS TO OTHERS...
1. A ship, just drifting, is a hazard to all other vessels at sea
2. Parents who are just drifting, will soon loose golden opportunities to teach their children
- Ep 6:4
3. Many are tossed to and fro and carried about by every wind of doctrine - Ep 4:14
F. IT ENDS IN SHIPWRECK...
1. A boat adrift will crash on the rocks or go over the falls
2. For those who drift spiritually through their own neglect, there shall be no escape from a
just punishment - He 2:1-3
[The danger of drifting is real, or there would be no need to warn against it.  So again I ask, “Are You 
Drifting?”  To help answer the question, here are some...]
II. COMMON SIGNS OF DRIFTING
A. DIMINISHING DESIRE TO STUDY GOD’S WORD AND PRAY...
1. The Bible is a unique book - a source of information not found anywhere else
a. Without God’s revelation, how could we truly know our origin, purpose, destiny?
b. It tells us of sin’s dreadful consequences, and how God saves us from sin
c. It provides direction for living happy, useful lives - cf. Ps 1:1-3
-- When one loses their desire to study God’s word, they are drifting!
2. Prayer is a wonderful blessing - an avenue to communicate with God!
a. Jesus, who loved His Father, often prayed - Mk 1:35; 6:46
b. He expressed concern that His disciples not grow weary to pray - Lk 18:1
-- When the Christian prays less and less, he is drifting more and more!
B. DIMINISHING DESIRE TO BE WITH GOD’S PEOPLE...
1. This includes attending services to worship God
a. One should always have the attitude of the Psalmist - Ps 122:1
b. If we no longer rejoice in the worship of God in the presence of brethren, we are
drifting!
2. Fellowship with God’s people extends beyond the services of the church
a. We are to be concerned with edifying one another - Ro 14:19
b. Such edification should occur even daily - He 3:13
c. For the right kind of friendship strengthens us, while the wrong kind leads us to sin 
- cf. Ec 4:9-12; 1 Co 15:33
-- When a Christian prefers the companionship of people of the world, rather than
fellow Christians, he is drifting toward the rocks of spiritual destruction!
C. DIMINISHING DESIRE TO SHARE THE GOSPEL...
1. When one obeys the gospel, he knows God has blotted out his sins, made him a new
creature in Christ, and he wants to tell the world about Jesus - cf. Ac 8:4; 1 Th 1:8
2. When a Christian no longer has the desire to take the message of salvation to others, he is
drifting!
D. INCREASING THRILL OVER THINGS OF THE WORLD...
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1. Such as greater thrill over worldly honors; for example:
a. Parents of one young man were excited beyond measure over a worldly honor he had
received
b. They had never demonstrated such emotion over spiritual matters
c. Within the passing time, the entire family had drifted beyond the point of no return
-- The apostle John warns us against the love of the world and the things in the
world - 1 Jn 2:15-17
2. Such as increasing enjoyment in worldly pleasures
a. Paul described some who were “lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God”  - 2 Ti
3:4
b. If we reach the point when we find more pleasure in some worldly activity than
meeting with others to worship God, we definitely are spiritually adrift!
[Such are some of the signs of drifting away from God.  If we are to remain close to God, it will not be 
easy.  Here are...]
III.REMEDIES AGAINST DRIFTING
A. KEEP ROWING...
1. Spiritually speaking, this involves diligence - cf. 2Pe 1:5,10
2. It also means to keep abounding in our Christian graces - cf. 2Pe 1:5-8
3. There is no place for “retirement” in living the life of a Christian! - cf. Ph 3:12-15; 2 Co
4:16
B. WATCH OUT FOR UNDERCURRENTS...
1. We must always be on guard for undercurrent of temptation
2. For we have a fleshly nature which wages war against the soul - 1Pe 2:11; Ga 5:16-18
C. EXPECT TO GO AGAINST THE TIDE...
1. There are many tides to sweep us away
a. Popularity, peer pressure, the praise of others
b. Modernism, skepticism, humanism
c. Denominationalism - false doctrines of all kinds
d. Liberalism and worldliness in the church - probably the greatest enemies of the
church in our lifetime
e. Neglect -- indifference, apathy, lack of interest and concern
2. If one drifts along with the majority, he certainty will be lost - Mt 7:13-14
D. WE MUST HAVE STRONG ANCHORAGE...
1. Rooted and grounded in Christ - Co 2:6-7
2. Minds must be anchored to the truth - Ep 4:14-15
3. Possessing an unshakable hope - cf. He 6:18-19
4. Rooted and grounded in the love of Christ - Ep 3:16-18
CONCLUSION
1. Brethren, are we drifting?
a. The danger is real, we would be foolish to say otherwise
b. Many have drifted away from the Lord, we would be arrogant to say it could not happen
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to us!
2. Are there signs of drifting in your life?  Honestly ask yourself:
a. Is my desire to study God’s word and pray diminishing?
b. Is my desire to be with God’s people not what it has been in the past?
c. Have I lost my desire to save those who are lost?
d. Am I too much enamored by the things of the world?
If in any way we must confess that we are drifting, then may we encourage one another to give earnest 
heed as warned by the writer to the Hebrews:
“Therefore we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we 
drift away.  For if the word spoken through angels proved steadfast, and every 
transgression and disobedience received a just reward, how shall we escape if we 
neglect so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was 
confirmed to us by those who heard Him...” (He 2:1-3)
Brethren, our salvation in Christ is simply too great for us to neglect!
Note:  The main idea and many thoughts from this lesson were taken from a lesson by David Riggs.
 32
Are You ‘High Maintenance’?
INTRODUCTION
1. A blessing enjoyed in Christ is support from brethren in times of spiritual crisis...
a. Those who are strong are to support the weak - Ro 15:1
b. Those who are spiritual are to help those overcome in a fault - Ga 6:1
-- It is part of the “law of Christ” to thus bear one another’s burdens - Ga 6:2
2. At the same time, we have a responsibility to become strong...
a. Each Christian has a responsibility to “bear his own load” - Ga 6:4-5
b. We will be held accountable for our own actions - Ro 14:12
-- It is thus our responsibility to pick ourselves up as well - He 12:12-13
3. Some Christians never seem to progress from being supported to supporting themselves...
a. They remain very dependent upon their brethren
b. Unless constantly nurtured by brethren, they fall away or become apathetic
-- Such brethren are what might be described in the vernacular as “high maintenance”
[Are you “high maintenance”? When is it okay to be “high maintenance”? What is “high 
maintenance”...?]
I. THE DEFINITION OF “HIGH MAINTENANCE”
A. AS USED IN EVERYDAY SPEECH...
1. It refers to the need for a lot of attention
a. Required to maintain something in good order
b. Requiring a lot of time, energy, or money
2. Any person or thing that requires a lot of attention
a. Cars that require a lot of work to keep running
b. Employees that require close supervision to do their jobs right
c. Significant others that require a lot of gifts or dates or they lose interest
B. AS APPLIED TO CHRISTIANS...
1. Christians are “high maintenance”
a. If they require a lot of attention in order to remain faithful
b. If they require a lot of coddling or pampering to be active
2. Christians that are “high maintenance”...
a. Babes in Christ just staring their new spiritual life
b. Slothful Christians who attend and work only when constantly prodded
3. Even churches can be “high maintenance” (or not)
a. The church in Corinth certainly was - cf. 1 Co 3:1-4; 2 Co 12:20-21
b. The church in Philippi was not - cf. Ph 1:3-7
[Some “high maintenance” is good and necessary in the work of the local church.  But when it exists 
where it should not, then there can be some problems...]
II. THE DIFFICULTY OF “HIGH MAINTENANCE”
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A. WHERE IT CAN HELP...
1. “High maintenance” is crucial for the newborn Christian
a. Just as it is for a physical baby
b. Weak in faith, weak in knowledge, they are very susceptible
c. Without the proper attention, they may soon be overcome 
2. “High maintenance” is essential for the hurting Christian
a. Just as it is for someone who is sick or injured
b. Overtaken in a fault, suffering physical illness or persecution, they are weak
c. Without they proper attention, they may soon be overwhelmed
-- In such cases, “high maintenance” is certainly called for - cf. 1 Th 5:14
B. WHERE IT CAN HURT...
1. When it hinders the growth of the church
a. Which grows through evangelism, edification, benevolence
b. Which may not if undue effort is spent on a select few
2. When it holds back the efforts of workers
a. Paul desired to preach where Christ was not named - Ro 15:20
b. Yet churches like the one at Corinth held him back - 2 Co 2:12-13
3. When more serious needs go unmet
a. E.g., babes in Christ not being helped, because others expect coddling
b. E.g., the sick and dying being neglected, because others require attention
[There are times in our spiritual lives when we all require some “high maintenance”.  But to avoid 
keeping it from those who really need it, we should give serious thought and effort toward...]
III.THE DEFEAT OF “HIGH MAINTENANCE”
A. THROUGH INDIVIDUAL GROWTH...
1. We need “high maintenance” when we are babes in Christ
2. But we should reach a point where we do not need it
3. Where we can become the providers, not just the recipients
-- Consider the unfortunate case of the Hebrew Christians - He 5:12-14
B. THROUGH INDIVIDUAL STRENGTH...
1. Strength from brethren is certainly helpful when we need it
2. But we should also reach a point where our strength comes from God
3. Where we can become the producers, not just the consumers
-- Consider the remarkable example of the apostle Paul - Ph 4:11-13; 2 Co 1:3-6 
CONCLUSION
1. My purpose has not been to discourage “high maintenance” when it is rightly needed...
a. For we are to bear one another’s burden - Ga 6:2
b. And the strong are to bear with the infirmities of the weak - Ro 15:1
2. My desire has been to challenge you in thinking about your service to Christ...
a. To reflect about your work in the kingdom - Ga 6:4
b. Are you bearing your own load? - Ga 6:5
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When a burden becomes unbearable, that is when we need “high maintenance” from our brethren.  
When failure to bear our own load requires “high maintenance”, that is when we hinder the cause of 
Christ...!
“He who is slothful in his work is a brother to him who is a great destroyer.” 
(Pro 18:9)
 35
Are You Ready
For Your Journey Into Eternity?
INTRODUCTION
1. If you were to die today, would you know for certain that you would be with God eternally?
2. The Bible tells us we can know for sure - 1 Jn 5:13
a. If it is possible to know, I’d want to know, wouldn’t you?
b. May I take a few moments of your time to share what the Bible says about receiving eternal
life?
3. Before I do, let me ask you another question...
a. Suppose you come before Jesus and He asks, “Why should I let you into heaven?”
b. How would you answer Him?
4. Some might answer...
a. “I kept the Ten Commandments”
b. “I attended church regularly”
c. “I was a good moral person”
d. “I was a good neighbor”
-- These and similar answers imply an understanding that salvation is earned
5. Yet the good news (gospel) of the Bible is that eternal life is a gift...
a. “...the gift of God is eternal life...” - cf. Ro 6:23
b. As a gift, it is not something we earn or deserve!
[Why is eternal life a gift?  The answer lies in understanding man’s problem with sin...]
I. THE NEED OF GRACE
A. THE BIBLE TEACHES ALL HAVE SINNED...
1. Sin is violating the law of God - 1 Jn 3:4
2. Sin is failing to do what is right - Jm 4:17
-- Everyone has sinned in some way - Ro 3:23
B. THE BIBLE DESCRIBES THE CONSEQUENCES OF SIN...
1. The wages of sin is death! - Ro 6:23
2. What kind of death?  Everlasting separation from God! - cf. Re 21:8
a. Have you done any of these?
b. Just a few?
-- Even if just one sin, we are still guilty! - Jm 2:10-11
[While everyone is guilty of sin and deserving of death, there is hope in ...]
II. THE SOLUTION OF GRACE
A. GOD OFFERS THE GIFT OF LIFE...
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1. In mercy God offers the gift of eternal life - Ro 6:23
2. He does this through the death of His Son - Ro 5:8
3. Out of love, God sent Jesus to be a sacrifice for our sins - 1 Jn 4:9-10
a. On the cross, Jesus paid the price for our sins!
b. Through His death, Jesus made eternal life possible!
-- What wonderful love, what a wonderful gift!  Yet sadly...
B. FEW RECEIVE THE GIFT OF LIFE...
1. Because many will not look for it - cf. Mt 7:13-14
2. Because many will not have done the Father’s will - cf. Mt 7:21-23
a. Though they may do many things in the name of Jesus
b. Remember, doing good things does not merit eternal life
-- Only those who do the Father’s will have eternal life! - cf. 1 Jn 2:15-17
[What is the Father’s will that we might receive the gift of eternal life...?]
III.THE RECEPTION OF GRACE
A. BELIEVE IN JESUS...
1. We must believe in Him whom God has sent - cf. Jn 6:28-29,40
2. Believing in Christ involves more than mental consent - e.g., Jn 12:42,43
3. A faith which does not express itself in action is a death faith - cf. Jm 2:26
-- How are we to express our faith in Christ?
B. REPENT OF SINS...
1. Jesus requires repentance - cf. Lk 13:3; 24:46-47
2. True repentance is:
a. A change of heart which will result in a change of life
b. A change brought about by sorrow for our sins - cf. 2 Co 7:9-11
-- In repenting, we decide to turn from sin and turn to God!
C. CONFESS FAITH IN JESUS...
1. Together with faith, confessing Jesus leads to salvation - Ro 10:9-10
2. Confessing Jesus means to acknowledge Him as the Son of God - cf. Ac 8:37
-- Confess Jesus before others, and He will confess us before God! - Mt 10:32-33
D. RECEIVE CHRIST IN BAPTISM...
1. Note first these spiritual truths:
a. All spiritual blessings are in Christ - Ep 1:3
b. Salvation is in Christ - 2 Ti 2:10
c. There is no condemnation in Christ - Ro 8:1
d. Eternal life is in Christ - 1 Jn 5:11
2. All these blessings are in Christ
a. It is one thing to believe in Jesus, quite another to get into Jesus
b. How does one get into Jesus?  The same way you get into a coat (you put it on)
3. We get into Jesus by putting Him on in baptism - cf. Ga 3:26-27
a. As many as are baptized into Christ, have put on Christ
b. Those not yet baptized into Christ, have not yet put on Christ
c. If we have not put on Christ, we are not yet in Christ
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4. What is baptism?
a. An immersion (burial) of the believer in water - Ac 8:35-38
b. Administered to the penitent for the remission of sins - Ac 2:38
c. In which we are:
1) Baptized into the death of Jesus - Ro 6:3
2) Buried with Him into His death - Ro 6:4a
3) Raised with Him that we might walk in newness of life - Ro 6:4b
d. A working of God in cooperation with our faith - Co 2:11-13
1) In which our sins our cut away (circumcised)
2) In which we are made alive, forgiven of all sins
-- Not a work of righteousness done to earn salvation, but an act of faith submitted to
in order to receive God’s grace and mercy - cf. Ti 3:5-7
E. REMAIN FAITHFUL TO JESUS...
1. Jesus expected us to learn and follow Him after baptism - Mt 28:19-20
2. Jesus promises the crown of life to those who remain faithful - Re 2:10
CONCLUSION
1. Though deserving of death because of sin...
a. We can receive God’s gift of eternal life!
b. By expressing our faith in Christ through repentance, confession, and baptism!
2. Two examples confirm this is how God’s gift of grace is extended...
a. Peter on the day of Pentecost - Ac 2:36-42,47
b. Philip and the Ethiopian eunuch - Ac 8:35-39
-- Note what people were told to receive forgiveness of sins (the gift of eternal life)
3. Does this make sense...?
a. Is there anything I have said you do not understand?
b. Have I taught you anything other than what the Bible teaches?
If you are willing to place your faith in Jesus, repent of your sins, confess your faith before others, then 
let these words move you to respond in the proper way...
“And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, 
calling on the name of the Lord.” (Ac 22:16)
Yes, why wait, when you can put on Christ in baptism and prepare yourself for your “journey into 
eternity”?
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Are You The Pastor?
INTRODUCTION
1. “Are you the pastor?” is a question that I am frequently asked...
a. When people visit our services
b. When someone calls the church building
-- A similar question when people learn that I preach:  “What church do you pastor?”
2. The questions are well intentioned, but misinformed...
a. Most people are not aware of the Biblical use of the word “pastor”
b. Indeed, most “pastors” today are not even qualified to be a pastor in the Biblical sense
[If we desire to use Bible words in Bible ways, then we do well to consider the proper meaning and use 
of the word “pastor”...]
I. “PASTOR” IN THE NEW TESTAMENT
A. THE WORD DEFINED...
1. The English word “pastor” is found only one time in the NT!
a. Listed along with apostles, prophets, evangelists and teachers - Ep 4:11
b. Interesting how a word found only once has become almost the universal term for
addressing ministers of any sort!
2. The Greek word is poimen, and means “a shepherd (literally or figuratively): - shepherd,
pastor” - Strong
a. The English word “shepherd” is found seventeen (17) times in the NT
b. Literally, in such passages as Lk 2:8,15,18,20
c. Figuratively, in such passages as Jn 10:11,14; He 13:20; 1Pe 2:25
-- So in Ep 4:11, it means “shepherds” metaphorically; but who were they?
B. THE POSITION DESCRIBED...
1. The pastors or shepherds in the NT church were the “elders” of the congregation
a. “Compare Ac 20:28, which, with Ac 20:17, indicates that this was the service
committed to elders (overseers or bishops); so also in 1Pe 5:1-2” - Vine
b. I.e., it was the elders who had the duty to be overseers (bishops) and to shepherd
(pastor) and feed the flock of God
2. What the NT reveals is not three distinct offices, but different ways to describe the spiritual
leaders of a congregation and their work:
a. Elders (Grk., presbuteros, presbyter) for they were older men - Ac 14:23; 20:17
b. Bishops (Grk. episkopos, overseer) for their task was to oversee the congregation 
- cf. Ac 20:28; 1Pe 5:1-2
c. Pastors (Grk. poimen, shepherd) for their task was to shepherd and feed the flock of
God - cf. Ac 20:28; 1Pe 5:1-2
3. The NT also reveals that there was always a plurality of elders (pastors) in a congregation
a. Never just one, but at least two
b. Which served to prevent one-man rule over a congregation
-- So the pastors were elders (presbyters), also known as a bishops (overseers); but
what were their qualifications?
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C. THE QUALIFICATIONS DELINEATED...
1. The qualifications for elder-bishop-pastor are found in two places
a. In Paul’s instructions to Timothy - 1 Ti 3:1-7
b. In Paul’s charge to Titus - Ti 1:5-9
2. Note that these passages describe what an elder-bishop-pastor “must be”, including:
a. The husband of one wife (i.e., a married man)
b. With believing children (i.e., children who are faithful)
3. Such qualifications rule out:
a. Single “pastors”
b. Childless “pastors”
c. Female “pastors”
-- In light of what pastors “must be”, many who claim to be pastors really aren’t
pastors in the Biblical sense
[At this point, one may wonder:  “Well, if you are not a pastor, then what are you and what role do you 
serve in the church?”  It may therefore help to consider...]
II. “PASTOR” COMPARED WITH OTHER TERMS
A. EVANGELIST...
1. This word is found three times in the NT
a. The same place where the word “pastor” is found once - Ep 4:11
b. Philip, one of the original seven appointed to help needy widows, was later described as
“the evangelist” - Ac 21:8; cf. 8:4-5,40
c. Timothy was charged to do “the work of an evangelist” - 2 Ti 4:5
2. “The term euaggelistes describes a proclaimer of good news (gospel, euangelion).”
- Ferrell Jenkins, The Early Church
a. “It is popular in modern times to think of an evangelist as one who travels from place to
place.” - ibid.
b. “The idea of travel is not inherent in the word evangelist” - ibid.
c. Philip evidently spent twenty years in Caesarea (Ac 8:40; 21:8); Timothy was charged
to remain in Ephesus (1 Ti 1:3)
3. The work of an evangelist in relation to a congregation - ibid.
a. Preach the word - 2 Ti 4:1-5
b. Put the brethren in mind of truth - 1 Ti 4:6
c. Reprove sinners, including elders if necessary - 1 Ti 5:19-21
d. Set in order, lead in appointing elders, teach qualifications - Ti 1:5
e. Teaching and training of teachers - 2 Ti 2:2
f. Teach against false doctrine and silence false teachers - 1 Ti 1:3-4; Ti 1:11,13
g. Set an example for the brethren - 1 Ti 4:12; Ti 2:7
h. Give attention to reading, exhortation, teaching - 1 Ti 4:13; 2 Ti 2:15
4. The work between that of pastors and evangelists contrasted:
a. An elder (pastor) is to take heed to self and to the flock - Ac 20:28
b. An evangelist is to take heed to self and to his teaching - 1 Ti 4:16
-- An evangelist is not a pastor (unless qualified and appointed to serve in a dual role,
along with other pastors in the congregation), but a minister of the Word of God
B. PREACHER...
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1. This word, or related words (preach, preaching) is found many times in the Scriptures
a. It describes the ministry of John the Baptist - Mt 3:1
b. It describes the ministry of Jesus - Mt 4:17,23; 9:35
c. It describes what Philip and Paul did with the gospel - Ac 8:5; 9:20
d. It’s role in saving souls is emphasized - Ro 10:14-15
e. Timothy was charge to preach the word - 2 Ti 4:2
2. “The term kerux is used of a herald, messenger, or proclaimer” - Jenkins
-- A preacher, then, would likely be an evangelist, proclaiming the gospel of Christ to
lost souls; once saved, pastors (elders) were to watch over those souls
C. MINISTER...
1. “This term (Greek, diakonos) describes a servant (1 Ti 4:6).” - Jenkins
a. “The term is not limited to the preacher; it is used of deacons and other servants (1 Ti
3:8,12).” - ibid.
b. “The preacher is not to be the (only) minister of a church.” - ibid.
2. Indeed, all those who serve in some capacity can rightly be called ministers
a. Deacons, of course, because that is what their very name means - 1 Ti 3:8
b. Evangelists or preachers, for they are ministers:
1) Used by God to reach out to the lost - 1 Co 3:5
2) Of the new covenant - 2 Co 3:6
3) Of God - 2 Co 6:4; 1 Th 3:2
4) Of Christ - 2 Co 11:23; 1 Ti 4:6
c. Those who serve a congregation in some way - Ro 16:1; Co 1:7
-- Even pastors can rightly be called “ministers”, in the sense that they serve God
and His flock by watching over the flock; but a minister is not necessarily a pastor!
CONCLUSION
1. Who can rightly be called a “pastor” according to the Bible...?
a. Those elders-bishops, who are charged to shepherd (pastor) the flock of God
b. Those who meet all the qualifications as listed by Paul in 1 Ti 3:1-7; Ti 1:5-9
c. Who watch over a congregation not alone, but with a least another pastor duly qualified
2. Those often referred to as “pastor” might more properly be thought of as...
a. Preachers, evangelists
b. Teachers, ministers
Such is certainly true in my case, as I serve the Lord as a minister of the Word and of the gospel of 
Christ.  Speaking of which, have you heard the wonderful gospel of Jesus Christ...? - Ro 10:14-15
 41
Attitudes Needed In Congregational Work
INTRODUCTION
1. As Christians work together in a local congregation, the right attitudes are necessary...
a. All the talent in the world cannot make up for the wrong attitudes
b. With the right attitudes, our efforts in service to the Lord are enhanced and live up to their full
potential
2. In what areas should we be concerned about our attitudes?
a. Our attitude toward God
b. Our attitude toward ourselves as individuals
c. Our attitude toward our brethren
d. Our attitude toward the work we do together as a church
-- In a least these four areas, we must be sure to maintain the proper attitudes
[And what are the proper attitudes?  Let’s begin with our...]
I. ATTITUDES TOWARD GOD
A. LOVE...
1. We must have the right kind of love toward God
2. Jesus defined that kind of love in Mt 22:37
-- Do we love the Lord with all our heart, soul, and mind?
B. FAITH AND TRUST...
1. Faith is a strong conviction and trust in things one does not see - He 11:1
2. Without faith, it is impossible to please God - He 11:6
-- Do we have the kind of faith which pleases God?  If not, cf. Ro 10:17
C. THANKFULNESS...
1. Every Christian should have “the attitude of gratitude” - cf. Co 3:17; Ep 5:20
2. God’s righteous indignation is toward those who have become unthankful - cf. Ro 1:18-21
-- An attitude of thankfulness for the blessings we have will help allay the bitterness
that often destroys the spirit in any congregation
[If our relationship with God is right, it increases the likelihood that our relationship with others will be 
smooth as well (cf. Pro 16:7).  What also helps are the proper...
II. ATTITUDES TOWARD OUR SELVES
A. HUMILITY...
1. A humble estimation of one’s self is very important - Ro 12:3,16
2. Humility includes a willingness to serve, even to do “menial” tasks - Jn 13:6-17
3. “Show me a man who cannot bother to do little things and I’ll show you a man who cannot
be trusted to do big things” (Lawrence D. Bell) - cf. Mt 25:21
-- Are we humble enough to serve your fellow brother?
 42
B. TEACHABILITY...
1. To be teachable is to be wise - Pro 15:31,32
2. Teachability includes:
a. An eagerness to learn and grow
b. The ability to learn from correction, to profit from advice and criticism
3. The old as well as the young need a teachable attitude:  “Education is too good to limit to
the young” (Elton Trueblood)
-- How teachable are we, when it comes to opportunities to study God’s word?
C. HONESTY TOWARD OUR MISTAKES...
1. This includes a willingness to admit our mistakes - cf. Jm 5:16
2. And a willingness to correct them
-- Everyone makes a mistakes; a congregation that functions well and grows is one 
filled with people who learn from their mistakes!
[The attitudes of humility, teachability, and honesty will certainly prepare us to be useful to the Lord.  
They will also have a bearing on our relationship with others in the congregation.  Let’s now focus our 
attention on...]
III.ATTITUDES TOWARD OUR BRETHREN
A. LOVE...
1. Jesus taught us the necessity of loving our brethren - Jn 13:34-35
2. We have been born again that we might love one another fervently - 1Pe 1:22-23
-- If we truly love one another, how can we not work together?
B. COOPERATION...
1. This involves a willingness to work together, as God intended - 1 Co 12:21
2. We need to be able not only to work, but to work together!
3. “It marks a big step in a man’s development when he comes to realize that other men can
be called on to help him do a better job than he can do alone.” (Andrew Carnegie)
-- Where there is cooperation, a good way of doing things will be more productive
than a better way of doing thing where cooperation does not exist!
C. APPRECIATION FOR OTHERS AND THEIR WORK...
1. We need to appreciate what others are doing - e.g., 1 Co 1:14; 1 Th 5:12,13
2. True appreciation for others will eliminate destructive criticism, gossip, divisiveness
-- Expressing appreciation is like grease on the gears of a machine...it makes others
do their work much better!
D. SUBMISSIVENESS...
1. We are to submit to one another - Ep 5:21
2. And we are to submit to those in positions of leadership (e.g., elders) - He 13:17
-- Too many chiefs, not enough Indians...that is a common problem in many  organizations!
E. PEACEABLENESS...
1. Peace among brethren is something that we should purse - Ro 14:19
2. It is part of walking worthy of our calling - Ep 4:1-3
-- The true children of God are those who are peacemakers, and sow their deeds of  righteousness in the atmosphere of peace - cf. Mt 5:9; Jm 3:17-18
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F. HOSPITALITY...
1. Christians are to be hospitable - Ro 12:13
2. This includes both hospitality to strangers and to brethren - cf. He 13:2; 1Pe 4:9
-- A factor in the rapid spread of the church in the first century was the hospitality  extended by the Christians - cf. 3 Jn 5-8
G. WARMTH, FRIENDLINESS, OPENNESS...
1. We see this expressed by those in the church at Jerusalem - Ac 2:44-47
2. It continued with the saints in Antioch - Ac 11:27-30
H. GENTLENESS, MEEKNESS...
1. Especially necessary in dealing with the spiritual weak - Ga 6:1
2. But also in dealing with those who oppose us - 2 Ti 2:24-26
I. FORGIVENESS, FORBEARANCE, PATIENCE, LONGSUFFERING...
1. All of these attitudes overlap, and are very important - Ep 4:2,32
2. They help smooth out the bumps and obstacles that Satan will put in our way in his effort to
destroy the local church
[Finally, let’s survey some of the necessary...]
IV.ATTITUDES TOWARD OUR WORK
A. GRATITUDE FOR THE PRIVILEGE OF OUR WORK...
1. Paul certainly possessed this attitude - 1 Ti 1:12; 1 Co 15:9,10
2. Do we appreciate what an honor it is to offer service in kingdom of our Lord?
B. ENTHUSIASM, EAGERNESS...
1. Remember, God loves a cheerful giver - 2 Co 9:7
2. Nothing is so easy but that it becomes difficult if done with reluctance
3. Nothing is so hard that it cannot be made easier with enthusiasm
C. INDUSTRIOUSNESS, DILIGENCE, ENERGY...
1. Like those in Nehemiah’s day, we need a “mind to work” - Neh 4:6
2. If we are to serve men “heartily”, how much more the Lord - Co 3:23
3. Some people are like blisters...they never show up until the work is almost done
4. The slothful person is just as harmful as the destructive person - Pro 18:9
D. INITIATIVE...
1. Initiative has been defined as willingness to do what is right without having to be prodded
2. We should not have to be reminded constantly of our responsibilities - cf. 1 Ti 4:14; 2 Tim
1:6
3. When you see something that needs to be done, don’t criticize, energize! (i.e., do it
yourself!)
E. POSITIVENESS...
1. We are to do things without murmuring and grumbling - Ph 2:14
2. The chronic complainer and the negative thinker are obstructions to the work of a
congregation
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F. PERSISTENCE...
1. We must have the attitude of Christ, not just to do, but to finish the work of God - Jn 4:34
2. We need “finishative” as well as “initiative” - cf. He 6:12
3. Then we can say with Paul:  “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have
kept the faith.” - 2 Ti 4:7
CONCLUSION
1. Ideal attitudes make for ideal working conditions among the members of a local church...
a. Attitude improvement can be compared to the woodcutter sharpening his ax - Ec 10:10
b. If we want the work of the congregation to go smooth, hone our attitudes!
2. Certainly the attitudes described this lesson will help the cause of Christ in any  congregation...
a. They will improve our relation with God, ourselves, our brethren, and our work
b. They will make us “useful to the Master, prepared for every good work” - 2 Ti 2:21
Are we developing the right kind of attitudes that prepare us for the work of the Lord?
Note:  The main idea and several thoughts from this lesson were taken from a lesson by Gary Henry.  
The URL for his web site containing many excellent articles and sermon outlines is:  
http://www.brasstacks.org
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Back To The Basics!
INTRODUCTION
1. A disturbing trend seen too often in many churches is the apparent apathy of many Christians
a. They may attend services, but it appears that they are only “going through the motions”
b. Their singing, their praying, their Bible Study, their zeal, seems listless
c. To rephrase Thoreau:  “The mass of [Christians] lead lives of quiet desperation.”
-- Certainly God desires more for His children! - cf. Ro 15:13
2. I suspect the problem is one akin to an athlete or a sport team which is “in a slump”...
a. Such a person or team "goes through the motions", but they are not performing up to their true
potential
b. The solution in sports:  Work on the fundamentals!
3. The same is true with Christians; when we find ourselves in a slump...
a. We need to stress the fundamentals - cf. Re 2:4-5
b. We need to get “Back To The Basics!”
[In this lesson I would like to stress some of the fundamentals or “basics” that we need to get back to 
whenever our lives are in a spiritual slump.  I.e., my first suggestion would be to...]
I. ENERGIZE YOUR FAITH
A. DEFINING FAITH...
1. A Scriptural definition of faith is found in He 11:1
2. The NIV is helpful:  “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of  what we
do not see.”
3. Vine's describes faith as a firm conviction
4. I like to think of faith as confident trust
B. IMPORTANCE OF FAITH...
1. Faith in God is essential to pleasing Him - He 11:6
2. Faith in Jesus is essential to finding forgiveness and eternal life - Jn 8:24; 20:30-31
3. Without faith, the only alternative is doubt accompanied with fear - cf. Mt 14:30-31
C. ENERGIZING YOUR FAITH...
1. The Word of God is designed to produce faith - cf. Ro 10:17; Jn 20:30-31
2. Through diligent reading of the Bible, we can energize our faith!
[So when you find yourself in a spiritual slump, pick up your Bible and allow it to rebuild that confident 
trust you once had!  It will also help you to...]
II. FORTIFY YOUR HOPE
A. DEFINING HOPE...
1. It is not wishful thinking, or an insecure “I hope so”
2. Vine's describes it as a confident expectation
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3. A common definition of hope is desire plus expectation
B. IMPORTANCE OF HOPE...
1. Hope is necessary to persevere - Ro 8:25; 1 Th 1:3
2. Hope is necessary for our motivation to become pure - 1 Jn 3:2-3
3. Hope is necessary to increase opportunities to evangelize - 1Pe 3:15
-- Without hope, we not only lose our souls, we won’t be any good for saving others!
C. FORTIFYING YOUR HOPE...
1. The Word of God was written to produce hope - Ro 15:4
a. Through its revelation of God's dealings with man in the past, we know God keeps His
promises
b. This encourages us to expect Him to deliver on His promises for the future
2. Peter encourages us to “rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at
the revelation of Jesus Christ” - 1Pe 1:13
a. Where do read of the grace that is to come when Christ is revealed?
b. In the Scriptures, of course!
c. Nothing fortifies our hope better than those wonderful passages that reveal the eternal
destiny of the saints!
[When an athlete gets discouraged, he or she is often told to “keep your eye on the prize!”  So the 
Christian must do, and it is with the aid of God's Word that we can keep our focus where it ought to be.  
Getting “Back To The Basics” will also include an effort to...]
III.ACTIVATE YOUR LOVE
A. DEFINING LOVE...
1. Paul gives the best definition of love - 1 Co 13:4-8a
2. A simple definition that is easy to remember:  active goodwill
B. IMPORTANCE OF LOVE...
1. Expressing love gives us assurance of our salvation - cf. 1 Jn 3:14,18-19
2. Expressing love assures us that God will answer our prayers - 1 Jn 3:22-23
3. Expressing love reassures us that we abide in God, and He in us - 1 Jn 4:7-8,12,16
C. ACTIVATING YOUR LOVE...
1. Like the Thessalonians, we can be taught by God how to love - cf. 1 Th 4:9
a. Jesus taught us how to love by His sacrificial life - 1 Jn 3:16
b. God taught us how to love by giving His Son as a propitiation for sins - 1 Jn 4:9-11
2. Through careful meditation upon what the Bible reveals about God's love for us, we can
activate our love for others!
[As we continue to list what is involved in getting “Back To The Basics”, I also encourage you to...]
IV.ENHANCE YOUR JOY
A. DEFINING JOY...
1. The Greek word is chara, and is closely related to the word charis
a. charis (grace) is undeserved favor which in turn gives joy, pleasure, delight
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b. chara (joy), then, is the response we have to undeserved favor
2. I like to think of joy as the delightful response to the grace we receive from God
B. IMPORTANCE OF JOY...
1. Joy is an essential element of what constitutes the Kingdom of God - Ro 14:17
2. Joy lightens the burden of trials in this life - 1Pe 1:6-9; He 10:32-34
3. It is often the loss of this virtue that is most evident in the lives of many Christians!
C. ENHANCING YOUR JOY...
1. Both Jesus and His apostles gave us words whereby our joy might be full - Jn 15:11; 1 Jn
1:4
a. Once again we see the value of daily Bible study
b. Just as the Bible can...
1) Energize your faith
2) Fortify your hope
3) Activate your love
...so it can Enhance your joy!
2. Jesus also stressed the importance of prayer in regards to joy - Jn 16:24
a. Answered prayer certainly excites the Christian, and increases joy!
b. So to the practice of daily Bible study, a key to getting “Back To The Basics!” is the
habit of regular prayer
[There is one more basic I would like to point out before we conclude this study.  You should also...]
V. ENJOY YOUR PEACE
A. DEFINING PEACE...
1. Vine's describes peace as harmonious relations
2. It is used to describe such harmony between...
a. Men
b. Nations
c. God and man
d. One's own self
3. A lack of peace often contributes to the “spiritual doldrums” that afflict many Christians
B. IMPORTANCE OF PEACE...
1. Another crucial element constituting the Kingdom of God - Ro 14:17-19
2. Peace with brethren contributes to receiving peace from God - 2 Co 13:11
3. And having peace with God has a positive effect in our peace with our enemies - Pro 16:7
C. ENJOYING YOUR PEACE...
1. Peace with God begins with justification found only in Christ - Ro 5:1
2. It continues in response to fervent prayer - cf. Ph 4:6-7
a. Just as prayer can “enhance our joy”
b. So can prayer help us to “enjoy our peace” that surpasses all understanding!
CONCLUSION
1. Faith, hope, love, joy, peace...
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a. Simple words, aren’t they?
b. Yet so essential to the “abundant life” Jesus has to offer those who come to Him!
2. Why are they often in short supply in the lives of many Christians?
a. Because they neglect two fundamental tools God provides for them
b. These tools?  The Word of God and prayer!
3. Brethren, whenever you find yourself in a spiritual “slump”, let these two avenues of communication
with God be the key to...
a. Energize your faith!
b. Fortify your hope!
c. Activate your love!
d. Enhance your joy!
e. Enjoy your peace!
4. Restoring the basic elements of the abundant life found only in Christ is not a mystery...
a. Receive the implanted Word of God! - Jm 1:21
b. Continue earnestly in prayer! - Co 4:2
It's just that simple!
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The Benefits Of A Small Church
INTRODUCTION
1. Churches come in all sizes...
a. Some are large, numbering in the thousands, even tens of thousands
b. Some are small, with as few as two or more people meeting in a home
2. The definition of church sizes is rather arbitrary, but here is one...
a. A small church is less than 200 members (80% of churches)
b. A medium church has 201-400 members (10% of churches)
c. A large church as 401+ members (10% of churches)
-- For some, even 200 members constitute a large church
3. Each size has its advantages...
a. There are things a larger church can do with its increased resources
b. But there are benefits of small churches often lost in larger churches
[My purpose is not to encourage stagnation in church growth, but to remind us of the benefits (and 
obligations) of a small church lest we become discouraged...]
I. BENEFITS OF A SMALL CHURCH
A. STRONGER SENSE OF FAMILY...
1. A small church is one where almost everyone knows each another
a. Face-to-face interaction is much easier
b. Even when we don’t remember their names, we remember their “face”
2. A small church is one where it is easier to develop familial relationships
a. A sense of “family”, which is proper - cf. 1 Ti 5:1-2
b. An opportunity to cross generational lines
1) Where children learn to relate to others besides their peers
2) Where young and old benefit from each other’s strengths
-- The family of God is a wonderful blessing (Mk 10:28-30); a blessing most often
experienced in small churches
B. GREATER OPPORTUNITIES TO GROW...
1. More likely that we are needed
a. The roles to fulfill are not that much different between large and small churches
1) Roles such as serving in public worship, Bible classes, etc.
2) Whether large or small, the number of teachers, preachers, song leaders, etc., that
are needed is about the same
b. The ratio of roles to members is usually much greater in small churches
1) Simply because we do not have a large pool of members to choose from
2) Therefore there is often a greater need in small churches
2. More likely that we are used
a. Larger churches often require a large rotation in its use of members
1) Opportunities to preach, teach classes, serve in the public worship may be rare
2) One may have the opportunity to be used only once in a long while
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b. Smaller churches use those willing to serve much more frequently
1) Out of necessity at times, but can also be by design
2) Small churches are often the training ground where leaders for large churches
developed their skills
3. More likely that we are missed
a. One’s absence is more keenly felt in a small church
1) Especially when needed to fulfill a certain role (e.g., Bible class teacher)
2) One’s absence can be overlooked for several weeks in a larger church
b. For those needing encouragement, this is important
1) It is too easy to get lost in a crowd
2) We need brethren who will take notice when we begin to show signs of weakness 
- cf. Ga 6:1-2
-- Proportionally speaking, more preachers, teachers, elders, and average members
have been developed by small churches than large churches
[Of course, there are many things a large church can do that a small church cannot.  But small churches 
have their benefits that we need to appreciate.  They also have their obligations...]
II. THE OBLIGATIONS OF A SMALL CHURCH
A. NURTURE SENSE OF FAMILY...
1. Congregationally, by providing opportunities for spiritual fellowship
a. E.g., Bible classes, gospel meetings, etc.
b. E.g., visitation programs, to encourage the weak, minister to the sick
2. Individually, by providing opportunities for hospitality
a. E.g., inviting others into our homes, going out together
b. E.g., getting together for social occasions, such as potlucks
-- As we seek to nurture our sense of family, we must be careful not to just limit our
efforts to those in our physical families!
B. PROVIDE OPPORTUNITIES FOR GROWTH...
1. Training those willing to learn and serve
a. E.g., men’s classes on serving in public worship, preaching, teaching
b. E.g., ladies’ classes on teaching ladies, children
2. Utilizing those willing to develop their abilities and talents
a. E.g., providing opportunities for men willing to preach, lead singing, etc.
b. E.g., likewise for women willing to teach children, other women, etc.
-- We should not feel that a preacher is shirking his duties when he opens his pulpit or
Bible classes so others can grow through such experiences - cf. 2 Ti 2:2
C. WATCH FOR STAGNATION...
1. It is tempting to want to remain small
a. Because of the advantages of a small congregation
b. Its warmth, friendliness, etc.
2. The Lord expects us to grow - cf. Mt 13:31-32; Jn 15:1-2
a. We should not be content to remain small 
b. We should be seeking to grow both as individuals and as a congregation
-- If we are not on an upward spiral of growth, we are likely heading downward
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CONCLUSION
1. Again, there are advantages to different sizes in congregations...
a. My point has not been to suggest one size is superior to another
b. My purpose has been to ensure we do not let smallness become a hindrance
2. As a small congregation...
a. We need to focus on our strengths, which should lead to growth
b. If we do not, we will likely stagnate, if not die altogether
Focus on our strengths as a small congregation, and it is more likely we will remain healthy when 
we become a larger congregation!
 52
Biblical Illiteracy
INTRODUCTION
1. A growing problem is one of “Biblical Illiteracy”...
a. Not just by those in the world
b. Also in the church
-- “Americans revere the Bible - but, by and large, they don't read it. And because they
don't read it, they have become a nation of biblical illiterates.” - George Gallup and
Jim Castelli
2. How bad is it?  Consider these results from various surveys...
a. Fewer than half of all adults can name the four gospels
b. Many professing Christians cannot identify more than two or three of the disciples
c. 60 percent of Americans can’t name even five of the Ten Commandments
d. 82Percent of Americans believe “God helps those who help themselves” is a Bible verse
e. 12Percent of adults believe that Joan of Arc was Noah’s wife
f. A survey of graduating high school seniors revealed that over 50 percent thought that Sodom
and Gomorrah were husband and wife
g. A considerable number of respondents to one poll indicated that the Sermon on the Mount was
preached by Billy Graham
-- “Increasingly, America is biblically illiterate.” - George Barna
[“Biblical Illiteracy” is like a poison, wreaking havoc in the lives of individuals, in our churches, and in 
our communities.  To understand how, consider...]
I. THE POISON OF BIBLICAL ILLITERACY
A. ITS EFFECT ON INDIVIDUALS...
1. God’s people have always been destroyed by lack of knowledge - Hos 4:1,6
2. Where there is lack of God’s Word, the people faint - cf. Amo 8:11-13
a. In ignorance they make the wrong choices
b. When they stumble, they do not know where to turn
3. Without a knowledge of God’s Word, a person has...
a. No real direction or guidance in life - Ps 119:105
b. No true joy or peace in life - Ps 119:111,165
-- How many lives are being destroyed, how many people are stumbling through life,
because they do not have the light of God’s Word guiding them...?
B. ITS EFFECT ON CHURCHES...
1. Churches languish for lack of teachers; teachers are few for lack of knowledge - He 5:12
2. Churches are led astray by false teachers and false doctrine, for how can the ignorant know
what is false? - cf. 2Pe 2:1-3
-- How many churches are “dying on the vine”, or into wholesale apostasy because
their members cannot discern between truth and error...?
C. ITS EFFECT ON COMMUNITIES...
1. Our standards of morality are skewed, where good is evil and evil is good - cf. Isa 5:20
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a. We slaughter the innocent (abortion), sparing the guilty (no capital punishment)
b. We reward the wicked (movie stars, entertainers), depriving the good (teachers, etc.)
c. Divorce is made easy, adultery looked upon lightly, fornication “an affair, a
relationship”, homosexuality an alternative lifestyle
2. The effect of such things destroy our families and communities
a. Evil (pornography, promiscuity) is allowed to spread in the name of “freedom”, ripping
families apart
b. Children are deprived the kind of parenting that is their God-given right
c. Leading to juvenile delinquency and greater evils
-- Consider how the moral fabric of our nation and others in the world are becoming
unraveled when “everyone does what is right in his own eyes” - cf. Jud 21:25
[The poison of “Biblical Illiteracy” has infected and sickened our people, our churches, and our 
communities.  Is there an antidote to this poison?  Indeed there is, but it requires individual effort...]
II. THE ANTIDOTE TO BIBLICAL ILLITERACY
A. DAILY DEVOTIONAL BIBLE READING IN PRIVATE...
1. The truly blessed person feeds upon the Word of God daily - Ps 1:1-3; 119:97-98
2. A systematic practice of prayerful Bible reading as part of a daily devotional...
a. Will bring a person closer to God
b. Will gradually increase one’s understanding of the Word of God
c. Will offer strength, comfort and hope that only the Scriptures provide
-- Are you willing to do your part, everyday, in stamping out “Biblical Illiteracy”...?
B. FREQUENT IN-DEPTH BIBLE STUDY WITH OTHERS...
1. The faithful Christian realizes the value of mutual edification - He 3:12-14; 10:24-25
2. Churches often provide the opportunity for Christians to study together
a. In their Bible classes on the Lord’s day, during the week, and in their homes
b. Where they can benefit from the knowledge of other Bible students
-- Are you willing to participate in such activities to stamp out “Biblical Illiteracy”...?
C. PARENTS ACCEPTING THEIR GOD-GIVEN RESPONSIBILITY...
1. God gave the responsibility of spiritual training to the parents - cf. Deu 6:6-7; Ep 6:4
2. Church may provide assistance with their children’s classes, and yet...
a. Parents should not abdicate their responsibility to the church
b. Parents should be very much involved in the teaching programs of any church
-- Are you willing to accept your parental duties to stamp out “Biblical Illiteracy”...?
D. PREACHERS FULFILLING THEIR DUTY TO THE WORD...
1. Preachers are to give heed to the Word, and to preach the Word - 1 Ti 4:16; 2 Ti 4:1-5
2. We should expect preachers to be “men of the Book”
a. Preaching and teaching the Word of God, providing exposition of the Scriptures
b. Not entertaining us with “pop theology” and “pop psychology”
-- Are you willing to require that preachers proclaim the Word to stamp out “Biblical
Illiteracy”...?
CONCLUSION
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1. I was encouraged to prepare this study reading an article by Albert Mohler (The Scandal of
Biblical Illiteracy: It's Our Problem)
2. I thought his concluding paragraphs to be especially on the mark...
a. “Churches must recover the centrality and urgency of biblical teaching and preaching, and refuse
to sideline the teaching ministry of the preacher. Pastors and churches too busy--or too
distracted--to make biblical knowledge a central aim of ministry will produce believers who
simply do not know enough to be faithful disciples.”
b. “We will not believe more than we know, and we will not live higher than our beliefs. The many
fronts of Christian compromise in this generation can be directly traced to biblical illiteracy in
the pews and the absence of biblical preaching and teaching in our homes and churches.”
c. “This generation must get deadly serious about the problem of biblical illiteracy, or a
frighteningly large number of Americans--Christians included--will go on thinking that Sodom
and Gomorrah lived happily ever after.”
Are we willing to get “deadly serious about the problem of biblical illiteracy”?  If so...
“Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with 
meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.” - Jm 1:21
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Blest Be The Tie
INTRODUCTION
1. A wonderful blessing we enjoy in Christ is fellowship with other Christians...
a. We are members of one another - Ro 12:5
b. Thus we have a special bond or tie that binds us together
2. A simple yet beautiful song that describes this bond is “Blest Be The Tie”...
a. Words written by John Fawcett in 1782
b. Melody by Johann Georg Nageli, arranged by Lowell Mason in 1845
-- In “Hymns For Worship”, it is song #302
[From the words of this song, let’s take this opportunity to reflect upon the special bond we enjoy as 
Christians...]
I. FIRST VERSE
A. “BLEST BE THE TIE THAT BINDS OUR HEARTS IN CHRISTIAN LOVE”...
1. Consider first what the tie that binds is not
a. It is not an earthly tie, such as:
1) Friendship
2) Marriage
3) Family
-- All of which are either social or physical ties
b. It is not broken like earthly ties, such as through:
1) Separation
2) Incompatibility (e.g., the apostles were a diverse group)
3) Death
2. Consider then what the tie that binds is
a. Love, not easily broken - cf. Co 3:14
b. Love, that comes from the God of love - 1 Jn 4:7-11
c. Love, learned from the example of Christ - 1 Jn 3:16
d. Love, serving as a mark of true discipleship - Jn 13:34-35
-- The tie involves love that is uniquely Christian; patterned after Christ’s love
B. “THE FELLOWSHIP OF KINDRED MINDS IS LIKE TO THAT ABOVE”...
1. This tie involves a unity for which Jesus prayed - Jn 17:20-23
2. It involves a unity of mind for which Paul prayed - Ph 2:2 
3. Therefore any threat to this unity is strongly condemned - e.g., 1 Co 1:10
-- The tie seeks to emulate the unity between the Father and the Son
[The tie that binds is based upon the love and unity which Christ makes possible; how it is manifested is 
illustrated in the remaining verses of the song...]
II. SECOND VERSE
A. “BEFORE OUR FATHER’S THRONE WE POUR OUR ARDENT PRAYERS”...
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1. We are blessed to be able to approach God in prayer
a. A privilege enjoyed in Christ - He 4:14-16a
b. A privilege with great blessings - He 4:16b; Ph 4:6-7
2. This song depicts frequent and fervent prayer
a. Praying for one another - e.g., Jm 5:16; Ac 12:5
b. Praying with another - e.g., Ac 1:14; 2:42; 12:12; 21:5
-- Such prayer is a benefit of the tie that binds, and also strengthens that tie
B. “OUR FEARS, OUR HOPES, OUR AIMS ARE ONE, OUR COMFORTS AND
OUR CARES”...
1. We have similar concerns and desires
a. Some because we are simply fellow humans in this world
1) We desire to be healthy, we fear sickness and dying
2) We enjoy comforts of life, we fear joblessness and poverty
b. Others because we are fellow citizens of the kingdom
1) We share the hope of the resurrection and eternal life - cf. 1Pe 1:3
2) We share in the struggles against temptation and persecution - 1Pe 5:8-9
2. As Christians, therefore, we can have more in common
a. Not just because of our human nature
b. But also because we are partakers of divine nature
1) Grace and peace are multiplied - cf. 2Pe 1:2-3
2) We have exceedingly great and precious promises - cf. 2Pe 1:4
-- Our shared experiences, enhanced by our spiritual blessings, strengthen our tie
[The next verse focuses on mutual problems we sometimes face...]
III.THIRD VERSE
A. “WE SHARE OUR MUTUAL WOES, OUR MUTUAL BURDENS BEAR”...
1. As Christians, we are to bear one another’s burdens - Ga 6:1-2
2. In times of spiritual weakness, we are to pray for one another - Jm 5:16
3. In times of persecution, we are to remember one another - He 13:3
4. In times of physical need, we are to provide for one another - Jm 1:27
-- Manifested in such ways, the tie we have in Christ is truly a blessing
B. “AND OFTEN FOR EACH OTHER FLOWS THE SYMPATHIZING TEAR”...
1. Because that is how God composed the body of Christ! - 1 Co 12:24b-26
2. That we might weep with those who weep - Ro 12:15
-- An emotional but effective demonstration of the bond we share
[The final verse describes the impact of the tie that binds, when it comes time to separate, even 
temporarily...]
IV.FOURTH VERSE
A. “WHEN WE ASUNDER PART, IT GIVE US INWARD PAIN”...
1. The tie is such that departure can be painful
2. Note the example of Paul and the Ephesian elders - Ac 20:36-38
-- Never experience such pain?  Perhaps one might need to examine their tie
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B. “BUT WE SHALL BE JOINED IN HEART, AND HOPE TO MEET AGAIN”...
1. We might be separated in the flesh, but can remain together in spirit - Co 2:5
2. We are comforted by a wonderful hope
a. The hope of the resurrection - 1 Th 4:13-18
b. Made possible by the resurrection of Christ, and our faith in Him - 1Pe 1:3-5
-- It is this hope which keeps our hearts joined together, when all other bonds fail
CONCLUSION
1. “Blest Be The Tie” is a beautiful song...
a. That describes the blessings of our oneness in Christ
b. That expresses how many Christians truly feel for one another
2. But it describes blessings known only by those...
a. Who have been added by Christ to His church - cf. Ac 2:41,47
b. Who are diligent in preserving the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace - cf. Ep 4:1-3
Have you been added to the Lord’s church through obedience to the gospel (cf. Ac 2:38)?  Are you 
doing your part to strengthen the tie that binds those in Christ?
“Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity.”
(Co 3:14, NASB)
 58
Capital Punishment
INTRODUCTION
1. Whenever an execution is imminent, questions are often raised...
a. Should capital punishment be acceptable in a civilized society?
b. Is it morally right for a government to administer capital punishment?
c. What is the purpose behind capital punishment, and is it accomplished?
2. How do we find the answers to such questions?
a. We could turn to various sources, and receive conflicting answers
b. For Christians who believe the Word of God to be complete and all-sufficient (2 Ti 3:16-17; 
2Pe 1:3), we must look to it for the answers
[In this study, we shall endeavor to glean from the Bible what it has to say on the subject.  Turning to the 
book of Genesis, the book of beginnings, we read of...]
I. THE BEGINNING OF CAPITAL PUNISHMENT
A. BEFORE THE FLOOD...
1. Cain received protection from God against capital punishment - Gen 4:13-15
2. Lamech, descendant of Cain, presumed even more protection against capital punishment
after killing a young man - Gen 4:23-24
3. By the time of Noah, mention is made of the corruption and violence which had filled the
earth - Gen 6:11-12 (might this be the consequence of a society without capital
punishment?)
4. God’s solution for the wholesale corruption and violence:  capital punishment on a mass
scale! (i.e., the flood) - Gen 6:13
B. AFTER THE FLOOD...
1. Man is immediately given an awesome responsibility - Gen 9:5-6
a. God now requires a reckoning from those who kill
b. He now requires a killer to be killed by his fellow man
2. The reason God requires this of man:  “For in the image of God He made man”
a. To kill one created in God’s image is a serious offense worthy of death!
b. Because man is created in God’s image:
1) He possesses the ability to exercise justice and righteousness
2) He is capable of being a worthy administrator of capital punishment
[While the evidence is scarce, it appears that before the flood people took God’s word to Cain as a 
license to kill without consequence.  With the flood, God Himself administered a form of capital 
punishment upon the violent and corrupt.  After the flood, He charged man with the responsibility to 
take the life of those who shed blood.  Now let’s take a look at...]
II. CAPITAL PUNISHMENT UNDER THE OLD COVENANT
A. GOD GAVE THE LAW TO GOVERN THE NATION OF ISRAEL...
1. The Law was both a civil and religious law, and has served as the basis for criminal justice
 59
in many other civilizations since first given to God
2. In it, we find that capital punishment was proscribed for the following crimes:
a. Premeditated murder - Exo 21:12-14
b. Parental abuse - Exo 21:15
c. Kidnapping - Exo 21:16
d. Cursing parents - Exo 21:17
e. Striking an expecting mother which causes the child to born prematurely and dies - Exo
21:22-25
f. Failure to keep a killer animal from killing - Exo 21:28-29
g. Killing a thief in revenge - Exo 22:2,3
h. Sorcery - Exo 22:18
i. Bestiality - Exo 22:19
j. Adultery - Lev 20:10
k. Incest - Lev 20:11-12
l. Homosexuality - Lev 20:13
m. Marrying both mother and daughter - Lev 20:14
n. Being a medium or spiritist - Lev 20:27
o. Breaking the Sabbath - Num 15:32-26
B. WAS THE LAW A GOOD LAW...?
1. Paul said that it was “holy and just and good” - Ro 7:12
2. While the religious aspects of the Law was temporary (cf. Ga 3:23-25), the civil law served
its purpose well:  to govern and preserve a nation
3. Who would presume to say they could improve upon such a civil code of ethics?
a. Many have arrogantly presumed they could do better
b. And countries have gotten worse, not better!
[Certainly under the Old Covenant capital punishment was ordained of God.  But we live under the New 
Testament, not the Old;  what does the New Testament say?]
III.CAPITAL PUNISHMENT IN THE NEW TESTAMENT
A. THE PURPOSE OF THE NEW COVENANT...
1. Unlike the Old Covenant, the New Covenant is not designed to govern or regulate civil
governments
a. It is designed for those in Christ’s kingdom, which is spiritual in nature - Jn 18:36
b. Its purpose is to help man achieving and maintaining a right relationship with God
c. So for the most part, it does not concern itself with telling men of the world how to
regulate their civil affairs
2. But in defining our relationship to civil authorities while subject to a Higher Law, there are
references which reveal God’s attitude toward capital punishment
B. REFERENCES TO CAPITAL PUNISHMENT...
1. Take a look at Ro 13:1-7
a. Governmental authorities are established by God
b. They serve as ministers of God, as “an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices
evil”
c. When a government fulfills its responsibility upon those who are evil...
1) It “does not bear the sword in vain”
 60
2) This is a clear allusion to the administration of capital punishment!
-- Thus the NT supports the government’s right to exercise the death penalty!
2. Consider what Paul said in Ac 25:11
a. He was willing to die if he “committed anything worthy of death”
b. A clear implication that in Paul’s mind were some crimes worthy of death!
[While the New Testament is focused upon the responsibilities of disciples of Jesus in His spiritual 
kingdom, there is certainly no indication that it is wrong for government to administer capital 
punishment when necessary.  The principle established in Gen 9:5-6, given to all of mankind before the 
Old Covenant, remains a responsibility placed upon the governments of men!  But what of those 
objections that are commonly raised whenever the issue is discussed?]
IV.COMMON OBJECTIONS TO CAPITAL PUNISHMENT
A. THE BIBLE SAYS “THOU SHALT NOT KILL”...!
1. The word “kill” is best translated “murder”
a. Cf. Exo 20:13 (NKJV, NASV, NIV)
b. This command forbids killing with malice and premeditation
2. In the next two chapters, God prescribes the death penalty for nine different crimes! - e.g.,
Exo 21:12-17
-- The command not to murder is directed toward individuals; one must ignore the  context and twist the Scriptures to apply it to the issue of capital punishment!
B. THE BIBLE SAYS GOD HAS NO PLEASURE IN THE DEATH OF THE
WICKED...!
1. It is true that God says He has no pleasure in the death of the wicked - Ezek 18:32
2. But consider the context of this statement:
a. The soul that sins shall die; one shall not bear the iniquity of another - Ezek 18:4
b. Certain sins makes one worthy of death - Ezek 18:10-13
c. God encourages the wicked to repent and do what is right - Ezek 18:21-23
d. But even the righteous person who begins to do wickedness shall die if they do not
repent! - Ezek 18:24
-- The whole thrust of the passage is this:  repent before it is too late; God may
have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that doesn’t prevent Him from
carrying it out! (cf. God’s death penalty on 24,000 in the plains of Moab - Num
25:1-13)
C. CAPITAL PUNISHMENT DOESN’T WORK, IT DOESN’T DETER CRIME...!
1. This is true to a certain extent, when it is not carried out quickly - cf. Ec 8:11
a. But it does prevent the person executed from ever killing again!
b. Its ineffectiveness in preventing crime by others is an argument against our system of
administering capital punishment, not the idea of the death penalty itself
2. “Determent” is not the only purpose, there is also the issue of “justice”
a. Justice demands that the punishment fits the crime
b. As God explained when He proscribed the need for capital punishment:  “For in the
image of God He made man”  - Gen 9:6
c. Some crimes are so heinous, any punishment less than death is not justice!
D. INNOCENT PEOPLE ARE SOMETIMES PUT TO DEATH...!
1. This can happen...
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a. But again this an argument that pertains to a system in which capital punishment is
administered
b. It not an argument against the idea of capital punishment itself
2. In the Old Testament...
a. Capital punishment could not be applied unless the crime was seen by two or more
witnesses - cf. Deu 17:6
b. If a single witness made an accusation that proved false, it could fall back on him! - cf.
Deu 19:15-21
3. Personally, I prefer to seeing the death penalty limited to certain cases...
a. In which there are two or more eyewitnesses, and there is no doubt
b. Where the conviction is not dependent upon laboratory evidence
-- Where there are no eyewitnesses, then perhaps the maximum penalty should be life in
prison (in case the laboratory evidence is later proved faulty)
CONCLUSION
1. Does God approve of capital punishment?  We have seen...
a. That God gave mankind the responsibility of carrying it out after the flood
b. God’s own illustration of justice in the government He gave to Israel
c. How Christians today are to acknowledge the right and responsibility given by God to
governments to be His ministers in avenging wrath on the evildoers
2. Certainly any civilized nation abhors violence and bloodshed; but civilization cannot exist...
a. With violence and corruption running rampant
b. When government fails to administer justice with punishment that fits the crime
3. How does God view governments that fail to carry out their responsibility to execute wrath to the
evildoer...?  
a. As with any government that takes away justice:  woe! - Isa 5:20-23
b. As with anyone who fails to fulfill their responsibility:  cursed! - Jer 48:10
Many may refuse to accept what the Bible has to say about capital punishment.  But let those who 
profess to be Christians and accept the Bible as inspired acknowledge that capital punishment is 
ordained of God!
 62
Cease From Anger, And Forsake Wrath
Managing Anger
INTRODUCTION
1. An article in Newsweek (“Better Temper That Temper!”, 1/3/83) raised the question...
a. Is it best to let off steam? (reduces blood pressure, but produces hostility in others)
b. Is it best to suppress one’s anger? (raises blood pressure, but prevents hostility)
2. This prompted me to study the subject of anger from a Biblical perspective...
a. Which for the Christian provides the final word
b. For all things, including human behavior
[What follows is the results of my study.  I began by taking...]
I. AN OVERALL LOOK AT ANGER
A. IN THE OLD TESTAMENT...
1. The OT books, especially Proverbs and Ecclesiastes have a lot to say about anger
2. Two passages provide this warning:
a. Pro 14:17 - “He who is quick-tempered acts foolishly...”
b. Ec 7:9 - “Do not hasten in your spirit to be anger, for anger rests in the bosom of
fools”
3. The following pretty well sums it up:  “Cease from anger, and forsake wrath; Do not fret --
it only causes harm.” - Ps 37:8
B. IN THE NEW TESTAMENT...
1. It appears anger is not compatible with the Christian disposition
a. Anger and wrath are to be replaced by kindness and forgiveness - Ep 4:31-32
b. We are told we “must also put of all these:  anger, wrath, malice...” - Co 3:8
c. James tells us to be “...slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not produce the 
righteousness of God.” - Jm 1:19-20
2. Yet we also note there appears to be a place for a certain kind of anger
a. Note Paul’s comments in Ep 4:26 (see more below)
b. Jesus expressed anger on several occasions
1) Toward the money changers in the temple - Jn 2:13-17
2) Toward the hypocritical Pharisees - Mt 23:13ff
c. God is a God of anger as well as a God of love - cf. Ro 1:18; 2:5; Ep 5:6
[How do we reconcile those passages which demand anger be put off with those which speak of anger 
on the part of God, Christ, and the Christian?  Let’s take...]
II. A CLOSER LOOK AT ANGER
A. CONCERNING THE ANGER OF GOD...
1. God’s anger is always a just reaction to evil - cf. Ro 1:18; 2:5-9
2. His wrath is never misguided; He is therefore capable of properly manifesting anger
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3. Man, with his imperfections, is not so capable
a. His anger is often misguided and misdirected
b. Because of ignorance, false presumptions, misunderstanding, etc.
B. CONCERNING THE ANGER OF CHRIST...
1. In the examples of His anger...
a. There is nothing of self-interest
b. Only holy anger against unrighteousness which is abhorrent to God
2. He could be angry, but only for God’s honor
a. When personally abused, He said nothing - cf. 1Pe 2:21-23
b. But when it was against God, He displayed righteous anger (as in the temple)
3. Man, with his imperfections, does not always properly use anger
a. E.g., we remain silent when sin is exalted and God is dishonored
b. Then get angry when someone offends us personally!
C. CONCERNING “BE ANGRY, AND DO NOT SIN...”
1. Don’t ignore the context of Ep 4:26-27 (cf. Ep 4:31)
2. Paul is telling us that if anger comes to the heart...
a. It must be controlled (“do not sin...nor give place to the devil”)
b. It must be dispelled before nightfall (“do not let the sun go down on your wrath”)
3. Compare this with the meaning of the Greek words often translated “anger” and “wrath” 
a. Thumos (most often translated “wrath”)
1) “the sudden outburst of passionate anger” - ZPEB
2) “the blaze of temper which flares into violent words and deeds, and just as quickly
dies” - Barclay
b. Orge (often translated “wrath”, but also “anger”)
1) “indignation which has arisen gradually and become more settled” - Thayer
2) “suggests a more settled or abiding condition of mind” - Vine
4. The effects of Paul’s remarks in Ep 4:26-27 is in harmony with Ep 4:31
a. “do not sin” - i.e., don’t let anger become wrath (outburst of anger), which is sin
b. “do not let the sun go down on your wrath” - i.e., don’t let anger remain and
become settled, for that is also a sin
5. The point is simply this:
a. It is wrong to “blow off steam”
1) Which is the idea involved in the word thumos
2) Sometimes translated “outbursts of anger”
b. It is wrong to “have a lasting, suppressed anger”
1) Which is the idea involved in the word orge
2) Sometimes translated “anger”
[But if it is wrong to be angry or to display wrath, is it humanly possible to remove these emotional 
reactions to trying and difficult situations?  Yes!  But only as we undergo a “transformation”...]
III.PUTTING AWAY ANGER & WRATH
A. TRANSFORMATION IN THE LIFE OF THE CHRISTIAN...
1. When a person becomes a Christian, a change is now possible - 2 Co 5:17
a. This change involves many things, one of which is our relation to sin
1) Before, we were “slaves of sin” - Ro 6:17
 64
2) Now, we can be “free from sin” - Ro 6:18
b. This does not mean that we cannot or do not sin
1) Only that we do not “have to sin” - cf. Ro 7:14-24
2) We are now free to present ourselves to God, to serve as instruments of
righteousness - cf. Ro 6:11-14,19
2. When a Christian willingly presents himself to God, transformation is possible!
a. Made possible by “renewing your mind” - Ro 12:1-2
b. This renewing of your mind occurs as we:
1) Set our minds on things above, especially on God and Christ - Co 3:1-2
2) Behold (contemplate) the glory of the Lord - cf. 2 Co 3:18
c. With a mind being renewed in this way, it becomes possible...
1) To put off things like anger, wrath - Co 3:8-11
2) To put on things like kindness, love, the peace of God - Co 3:12-15
a) Things which in themselves prevent anger and wrath from becoming a part of
our lives
b) Especially the “peace of God”, which if allowed to rule in our hearts will give us
the inner calm and harmony we need in trying times!
c) Crucial to putting on such things as “peace” is the Word of God and prayer! 
- cf. Jn 14:27; 16:33; Ph 4:6-7
3. Transformation leads to reacting differently...
a. Even as Christians, before we are transformed we will react according to the works of
the flesh (with anger and wrath) - Ga 5:19-21
b. But the more we are transformed into the image of Christ, the more we will react
according to the fruit of the Spirit (kindness, gentleness, self-control) - Ga 5:22-23
[During the process of transformation through the Word of God and prayer, it does not hurt to
benefit from suggestions which complement what the Bible teaches.  Along this line, perhaps it will
be helpful to include some thoughts regarding...]
B. ANGER MANAGEMENT...
1. Seneca, a Roman philosopher-educator (4-65 A.D.), offered the following Self-control
techniques in his book “Of Anger”...
a. Avoid frustrating situations by noting where you got angry in the past
b. Reduce your anger by taking time, focusing on other emotions (pleasure, shame, or
fear), avoiding weapons of aggression, and attending to other matters
c. Respond calmly to an aggressor with empathy or mild, unprovocative comments or with
no response at all
d. If angry, concentrate on the undesirable consequences of becoming aggressive
1) Tell yourself: “Why give them the satisfaction of knowing you are upset?” 
2) Or “It isn’t worth being mad over.” 
e. Reconsider the circumstances and try to understand the motives or viewpoint of the 
other person
f. Train yourself to be empathic with others
1) Be tolerant of human weakness
2) Be forgiving (ask yourself if you haven’t done something as bad)
3) Follow the “great lesson of mankind: to do as we would be done by.”
2. MyMindField.com (http://topcondition.com/images/mymindfield/anger_management.htm)
has these suggestions for controlling anger through behavior modification
a. Reduce your frustrations
 65
1) Find the source of your frustration, whether they be people or subjects or situations
2) Attempt to reduce or eliminate your exposure to these negative stimuli
b. Reduce violent stimuli in your life
1) Choosing to avoid violent movies, violent and aggressive friends is part of this
approach
2) Be very selective with your friends so that they do not goad you into anger and rage
3) Eliminate drugs and alcohol as stimulants of anger. 
c. Reveal Yourself and Understand Others
1) Announce you may be having a bad day to others
2) Attempt to indicate to others they are having a bad day and offer to listen or let
them vent
d. Stop hostile fantasies
1) Cease dwelling on issues or people which aggravate
2) Think smooth. Think cool.  
e. Do not escalate the violence - Aggressive action on your part may cause an equally
aggressive response which starts a vicious cycle
f. Suppress or convert your violent reaction
1) Count to ten, take a deep breath, or go work out are variations on this theme
2) Think of the source of the aggravation and whether a violent reaction will
accomplish any purpose other than remorse, which is not a goal
g. Cease using temper to get your way - While successful in the short term, using anger
to win points is a losing strategy in the long run
h. Use stress inoculation - This approach involves awareness of our own irrational
fantasies, learning better understanding of why others are weak when they show rage,
and rehearsing how to be calm in the face of angering stimulation
i. Disconnect anger from frustrating people or issues or desensitization
j. Consider meditation and mild exercise to relax
3. Some other useful sources for “Anger Management” on the Internet:
a. Psychology In Daily Life - Controlling Anger--Before It Controls You
http://helping.apa.org/daily/anger.html
b. Mental Health Net - Anger And Aggression
http://mentalhelp.net/psyhelp/chap7/
CONCLUSION
1. Instead of trying to determine whether we should react to difficult situations...
a. By letting off steam
b. By suppressing one’s anger
...the goal of the Christian should be that of changing the inner person - the more we are
transformed, the more likely we will react with love, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness,
gentleness, and self-control
2. Following the example of Christ, there may be a place for anger, but only in things pertaining to the
honor and will of God; in all other things, we do well to remember:
a. The example of Jesus - 1Pe 2:23
b. The words of David - Ps 37:8
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Let us “cease from anger, and forsake wrath” by presenting ourselves to God, allowing our minds to be 
renewed as we behold His glory revealed in the Bible.  Do you wish to be a “new creation”?  You must 
be “in Christ” (2 Co 5:17), and that begins by being baptized “into Christ” (Ga 3:27)...
 67
The Celebration Of Christmas
Should It Be The Work Of The Church?
INTRODUCTION
1. “Christmas” is an annual holiday celebrated by many...
a. Millions commemorate the birth of Jesus on this day
b. Many consider it as one of “the most holy” of religious holidays
c. For some, it marks one of the few times they attend church services (along with Easter and 
Mother’s Day)
2. But were you aware that...?
a. Christians in the NT did not celebrate the birth of Jesus as an annual observance?
b. Most Protestant churches did not begin celebrating Christmas until the 19
th
century?
c. Most churches of Christ still do not have annual observances of Christ’s birth
3. This may prompt questions in the minds of some...
a. How did the yearly observance of Jesus’ birth get started?
b. Should not the Lord’s church involve herself in such a holiday?
c. How about observing certain elements of it as individuals?
[Focusing on the observance of Christmas in connection with the birth of Christ, let’s start with...]
I. THE BIRTH OF JESUS
A. IN THE BIBLE...
1. “The New Testament provides no clues in this regard.” - Encyclopedia Britannica
2. The NT simply states that it happened in the days of Caesar Augustus and while Quirinius
was governing Syria - Lk 2:1-2
3. Most scholars place the year of Jesus’ birth between 4-6 B.C.
-- The actual year is uncertain, let alone the month and day
B. IN HISTORY...
1. Sextus Julius Africanus popularized the idea that Jesus was born on December 25 in his
Chronographiai, a reference book...written in 221 AD. - Wikipedia, “Christmas”
a. Based on the assumption that Jesus died on March 25
b. Based on a Jewish belief that prophets died on the same date as their conception
c. Thus if Jesus was conceived on March 25, then He was born nine months later (assuming 
a gestation period lasting exactly nine months)
2. However, Orthodox churches celebrate the birth of Jesus on Jan 6
th
or 7
th
-- The fact is that no really knows what day, month, or year Jesus was born
[If we don’t know exactly when Jesus was born, then how did the annual celebration of His birth begin?  
For that, let’s review the history of...]
II. THE CELEBRATION OF CHRISTMAS
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A. IN THE BIBLE...
1. There is no reference to Christians celebrating the birth of Jesus as an annual observance
2. The only event of Jesus’ life that was celebrated regularly was His death, done weekly in the 
observance of the Lord’s Supper - cf. Ac 20:7; 1 Co 11:20-34
3. Paul expressed concern about observing days, months, and years - Ga 4:9-10
-- The Bible does not support the idea of an annual celebration of the birth of Jesus
B. IN HISTORY...
1. The identification of the birth date of Jesus did not at first inspire feasting or celebration 
- Wikipedia, “Christmas”
a. Tertullian does not mention it as a major feast day
b. In 245 A.D, Origen denounced the idea of celebrating Jesus’ birthday
c. The earliest reference to Christmas is in a calendar in 354 A.D.
d. Soon after it was introduced to Constantinople (379), Antioch (380), Alexandria (430)
2. Among Protestant churches, especially in the US - ibid.
a. During the Reformation, Protestants condemned Christmas as “trappings of popery” 
(Christmas literally means “the Mass of Christ”, or “mass on Christ’s day”)
b. England’s Puritan rulers banned it in 1647, it was reinstated in 1660
c. Puritans of New England disapproved of Christmas, it was outlawed from 1659 to 1681
d. Christmas fell out of favor in the US after the American Revolution, as it was considered 
an English custom
e. Interest in Christmas in America was revived through novels by Washington Irvin and by 
immigrants from Europe bringing their customs
f. Christmas was declared a U.S. federal holiday in 1870
-- The annual observance of the birth of Christ has been adopted only after great 
controversy among both Catholic and Protestant churches
[So we don’t know when Jesus was born, and we do know that an annual observance of His birth did not 
begin for hundreds of years after the church began, what about today...?]
III.SHOULD CHRISTMAS BE A WORK OF THE CHURCH?
A. PAUL GAVE WARNINGS REGARDING FEAST DAYS...
1. He expressed his concern for the churches in Galatia - Ga 4:8-11
a. Not that their practice was wrong per se, only but he was concerned
b. From the context, his concern pertained to “why” they were doing these things
1) If they believed it was necessary to be saved, then Paul’s labor among them was in
danger of being in vain
2) For seeking justification through the Law, religious feast days, etc., causes one to
fall from grace and become estranged from Christ! - cf. Ga 5:4
2. Paul admonished the Colossians not to let anyone “judge” them - Co 2:16-17
a. Some were seeking to bind the Law upon the Gentile believers - e.g., Ac 15:1,5
b. Gentile Christians were told not to let any one judge (condemn) them, for salvation is in
Christ, not in the keeping of the religious feast days of the Law
3. Yet Paul himself was not averse to observing certain feast days apart from the church
a. He did not hesitate to keep Jewish customs when expedient  - 1 Co 9:19-20
1) He had Timothy circumcised - Ac 16:1-3
2) He took a vow - Ac 18:18
3) He sought to keep a Jewish feast in Jerusalem - Ac 18:19-21
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4) He participated in purification ceremonies, which included animal sacrifices - Ac 21:
17-26; cf. Num 6:13-20
b. However, his teaching made clear:
1) It should be kept on an individual basis - cf. Ro 14:5-6
2) It should not be bound on others - cf. Ga 2:3-5
3) It had nothing to do with our justification in Christ - cf. Ga 5:4-6
-- Where Paul drew the line was in making such matters church doctrine or practice, in 
which people would be compelled to participate in them
B. JESUS WARNED OF THE DANGER OF HUMAN TRADITIONS...
1. He rebuked the scribes Pharisees for their use of traditions - Mk 7:1-13
a. They made their traditions necessary for all to observe - Mk 7:7
b. In keeping their traditions, they laid aside the commands of God - Mk 7:8-9
2. Traditions of men are wrong when they:
a. Become matters of doctrine or required practice, bound upon all
b. Displace the commands of God by the very keeping of the traditions
-- Feast days are therefore like traditions; in certain situations they can be matters of 
expediency, but they can become a stumbling block to others!
C. MAKING APPLICATION IN REGARDS TO CHRISTMAS...
1. The Bible is silent regarding any observance of Christ’s birth
a. God and Jesus evidently did not deem it necessary for the church
b. Any observance is based upon human tradition, not God’s Word
2. As a human tradition, we must be very careful - cf. Mk 7:7-9
a. It cannot become a matter of doctrine, which is bound upon others
b. It cannot displace the keeping of God’s commandments (do those who come only 
on Easter believe that it renders the command in He 10:25 of none effect?)
3. An annual observance by the church is certainly unwise, if not wrong
a. It intertwines human traditions with God’s commands for His church
b. It forces people to observe what is a human tradition
4. On an individual basis, if one wishes to esteem one day above another:
a. It is between him and the Lord - Ro 14:5-6
b. Be careful not to condemn those who differ - Ro 14:4,10-12
c. Be sensitive to the convictions of others - Ro 14:13-19
5. As for pagan elements that have become intertwined with the Christmas holiday...
a. Perhaps this is best left on an individual basis
b. My own understanding is that we are free in Christ to change what may have been a
religious practice at one time for personal use as an expediency
1) E.g., using circumcision for hygienic purposes
2) E.g., exchanging gifts among friends and family
CONCLUSION
1. My view of Christmas is similar to how I view Thanksgiving...
a. I know the idea of an annual observance is foreign to the Scriptures
b. As Christians we should give thanks and celebrate Christ’s birth year around
2. But seeking to “continue steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine” (Ac 2:42)...
a. The Lord’s church should refrain from adding human traditions to its work and worship
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b. Even so, I am grateful that at least once a year people think about Jesus’ birth
3. My prayer is that people will do more than think about His birth once a year...
a. That we be thankful for His coming to this earth every day
b. That we will submit to His rule and be citizens of His kingdom foretold long ago:
For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon 
His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, 
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 
Of the increase of His government and peace There will be no end, Upon the throne of 
David and over His kingdom, To order it and establish it with judgment and justice 
From that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this. 
- Isa 9:6-7
Unless we submit to the authority of Jesus Christ, His birth means nothing to us.  Have you been born 
again of water and Spirit that you might enter that wonderful kingdom of God? - cf. Jn 3:3-5
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The Celebration Of Easter
A Historical And Biblical Perspective
INTRODUCTION
1. “Easter Sunday” is an annual holiday celebrated by many...
a. Millions of people commemorate the resurrection of Jesus on this day
b. Many consider it as “the most holy” of religious holidays
c. For some, it marks the only time they attend church services (although Christmas runs a close
second)
2. But were you aware...
a. That the church in the NT did not observe a YEARLY observance of the Lord’s
resurrection?
1) The word “Easter” is found only once in the KJV Bible - cf. Ac 12:4
2) The word in the Greek is actually “Passover”, and so translated elsewhere in the KJV
3) “It is reasonably certain that the NT contains no reference to a YEARLY celebration of the
resurrection of Christ” (ISBE)
b. That the word “Easter” actually comes from “EASTRE”, the Anglo-Saxon name of a
Teutonic goddess of spring and fertility?
1) To her was dedicated a month corresponding to our April
2) Her festival was celebrated on the day of vernal equinox
c. That many of the customs associated with Easter illustrate this and other pagan
connections?
1) “The rabbit was sacred to the Germanic goddess ‘Eastre’, the goddess of fertility and
springtime...  And if you stop to think about it, rabbits are an extremely appropriate symbol
for springtime, because of what they are famous for--having more rabbits.” (William Heim,
associate dean of the College of Arts and Letters at USF, Orlando Sentinel, 4/15/87)
2) “It appears there was a custom among ancient Egyptians and Romans to give eggs as
presents at this time of year.  That was intended to insure that the recipient would have a
very fertile or productive year.” (ibid.)
3) Helms went on to say that hunting for Easter eggs may have begun as the search for gifts
from the sacred animal, the rabbit, on the morning of the festival.
3. This ought to prompt some questions in the minds of Christians...
a. How did the yearly observance of Jesus’ resurrection get started?
b. How did pagan names and traditions become associated with a “Christian” holiday (esp. one
considered “the most holy”)?
c. What bearing should all this have on Christians today?
1) Should the Lord’s church involve herself in such a holiday?
2) How about observing certain elements of it as individuals?
[Here are the results of my own study on these things.  Beginning with...]
I. LOOKING AT EASTER FROM A HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE
A. THE YEARLY OBSERVANCE OF CHRIST’S RESURRECTION
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1. The practice began early, in the form of a “Christian” Passover...
a. The Passover was already an important feast to the Jews
1) Instituted by Moses, commemorating their deliverance from Egypt
2) It was during this feast that Jesus instituted the Lord’s Supper
b. Many Jews continued to keep their Jewish customs and religious festivals after their
conversion to Christ
1) Paul was not averse to observing such Jewish customs - Ac 18:18-21; 21:17-26
2) John and Philip were said to observe the Passover every year (cf. Eusebius)
-- But the Passover (and other Jewish festivals) was never bound upon the Gentiles
(more on this later)
c. Shortly after the death of the apostles, some of the “Jewish” festivals began to be
observed as “Christian” festivals
1) I.e., the Passover was now observed in memory of Christ’s death
a) Who died during Passover week
b) Who was offered as our Passover lamb for our sins - cf. 1 Co 5:7-8
2) Thus began a yearly observance...
a) Even though Christ instituted the Lord’s Supper as the proper memorial to
commemorate His death - cf. Lk 22:14-20; 1 Co 11:23-26
b) Both biblical and historical evidence indicate that this was a weekly observance
- cf. Ac 20:7; 1 Co 11:20-22; 10:16-17
2. The yearly “Christian Passover” soon included other observances as well...
a. Palm Sunday, the day Jesus made His triumphant entry into Jerusalem prior to His
death
b. Good Friday, the day He was crucified
c. Resurrection Sunday, the day He arose and which came to be known as “Easter”
3. Celebrating these days was not without controversy...
a. In the 2nd and 3rd century there was much dispute over the proper date
1) The churches in Asia Minor followed Jewish chronology
a) So they celebrated the Passover when the Jews did, on the 14th of Nisan
b) The Jewish calendar is a lunar calendar, which meant the day of the week
would vary from year to year
c) Thus the day of Passover would vary, and with it the day of celebrating Jesus’
resurrection
2) Others observed the events on the day of the week in which they occurred
a) So that the “Christian Passover” always fell on a Thursday
b) The commemoration of Jesus’ death would be on a Friday
c) The celebration of the resurrection on a Sunday
b. This created quite a stir...
1) While some were sorrowfully commemorating the death of Jesus, others were
joyously celebrating His resurrection
2) Churches threatened to “excommunicate” one another
c. Even after the Jewish calendar was dropped, and it was agreed to celebrate these
holidays on the same days of the week, there was still a problem...
1) There was no agreement on which calendar to use (Gregorian or Julian)
2) Which explains the difference between the observances by the Roman and Greek
orthodox churches today
-- So the yearly observance of the resurrection originated from human tradition, not
the Bible itself, and proved to be a source of turmoil among the churches
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B. THE INTRODUCTION OF PAGAN CUSTOMS...
1. Assimilation of pagan ritual into “Christian” observances was a common practice
a. When people took the gospel into a pagan area...
1) Many would not discourage the local residents to discard their pagan rituals
2) Instead, they would attempt to give such customs a “Christian” flavor
b. As Helms, quoted earlier, went on to say:
1) “With the advent of Christianity, the egg, still taken as a symbol of life, was simply
borrowed to be a symbol of the Christian holiday.”
2) “The earliest Easter eggs were dyed red to represent the blood shed by Christ.”
3) “Many cultures celebrated the advent of spring down through history. When
Christianity came along about 2,000 years ago, there was already a number of
pagan celebrations in place.”
4) “People rarely discard a holiday. When a new system of beliefs comes along, you
simply come up with a new mythic structure to explain why you were celebrating
that holiday in the first place.”
2. The effect of such assimilation...
a. It eventually “neutralized” the pagan rituals
1) Who would have ever thought of “Easter” as the name of a goddess?
2) Without the help of historical research, we would have forgotten the pagan origins
b. But it also leaves many people with erroneous conceptions
1) E.g., having people believe that Christians have always observed a yearly regarding
the death and resurrection of Jesus
2) E.g., in the case of Christmas, leading people to believe that Jesus was actually born
on December 25th, not knowing that it was originally a Roman feast day
[But this has been looking at Easter from a historical perspective.  As disciples of Christ, our primary 
concern should be the biblical perspective...]
III.LOOKING AT EASTER FROM A BIBLICAL PERSPECTIVE
A. PAUL GAVE WARNINGS REGARDING FEAST DAYS...
1. Paul expressed his concern for the churches in Galatia - Ga 4:8-11
a. He does not say that their practice was wrong per se, only that he is concerned
b. From the context, his concern pertained to “why” they were doing these things
1) If they believed it was necessary to be saved, then Paul’s labor among them was in
danger of being in vain
2) For seeking justification through the Law, religious feast days, etc., causes one to
fall from grace and become estranged from Christ! - cf. Ga 5:4
2. Paul admonished the Colossians not to let anyone “judge” them - Co 2:16-17
a. Some were seeking to bind the Law upon the Gentile believers - e.g., Ac 15:1,5
b. Gentile Christians were told not to let any one judge (condemn) them, for salvation is in
Christ, not in the keeping of the religious feast days of the Law
3. But as we noted before, Paul was not averse to observing certain feast days himself
a. He did not hesitate to keep Jewish customs when expedient  - 1 Co 9:19-20
1) He had Timothy circumcised - Ac 16:1-3
2) He took a vow - Ac 18:18
3) He sought to keep a Jewish feast in Jerusalem - Ac 18:19-21
4) He participated in purification ceremonies, which included animal sacrifices - Ac 21:
17-26; cf. Num 6:13-20
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b. However, in his teaching it was made clear:
1) It should be kept on an individual basis - cf. Ro 14:5-6
2) It should not be bound on others - cf. Ga 2:3-5
3) It had nothing to do with our justification in Christ - cf. Ga 5:4-6
-- Where Paul drew the line was in making such matters church doctrine or practice,
where people were compelled to do them
B. JESUS WARNED OF THE DANGER OF HUMAN TRADITIONS...
1. He rebuked the scribes Pharisees for their use of traditions - Mk 7:1-13
a. They made their traditions necessary for all to observe - Mk 7:7
b. In keeping their traditions, they laid aside the commands of God - Mk 7:8-9
2. Traditions of men are wrong, then, when they:
a. Become matters of doctrine or required practice, bound upon all
b. Displace the commands of God by the very keeping of the traditions
-- Traditions are therefore like the feast days;  in certain situations they can be
matters of expediency, but if we are not careful they can become a stumbling block
to us!
C. MAKING APPLICATION IN REGARDS TO EASTER...
1. The Bible is silent regarding any YEARLY observance of Christ’s resurrection
a. God and Jesus evidently did not deem it necessary for the church
b. Any yearly observance is based upon human tradition, not God’s Word
2. As a human tradition, we must be very careful - cf. Mk 7:7-9
a. It cannot become a matter of doctrine, which is bound upon others
b. It cannot displace the keeping of God’s commandments (do those who come only
on Easter believe that it renders the command in He 10:25 of none effect?)
3. An annual observance by the church is unwise, if not wrong
a. It intertwines human traditions with God’s commands for His church
b. It forces people to observe what is a human tradition
4. On an individual basis, however, if one wishes to esteem one day above another:
a. It is between him and the Lord - Ro 14:5-6
b. Be careful not to condemn those who differ - Ro 14:4,10-12
c. Be sensitive to the convictions of others - Ro 14:13-19
5. As for the pagan elements...
a. Again, perhaps this is best left on an individual basis
b. My own understanding is that we are free in Christ to change what may have been a
religious practice at one time for personal use as an expediency
1) E.g., using circumcision for personal hygiene
2) E.g., using colored eggs and hiding them for family entertainment
CONCLUSION
1. My view of Easter is similar to how I view Thanksgiving...
a. I know that the idea of an annual observance is foreign to the Scriptures
b. As Christians we should give thanks and celebrate Christ’s resurrection year around
c. But seeking to “continue steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine” (Ac 2:42), the Lord’s church
should refrain from adding human traditions to its work and worship
d. Yet I am grateful that I live in a country where at least once a year people think about God’s
blessings, especially in the gift of His Dear Son
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2. My prayer is that people will do more than think about God’s Son once a year...
a. That we be thankful in every thing and on every day
b. That we live in the power of the resurrected Life which is in Christ Jesus our Lord
1) Which comes by being in Christ
2) Which comes by living daily in service to Him who died for us, and rose again!
“For though He was crucified in weakness, yet He lives by the power of God. For we 
also are weak in Him, but we shall live with Him by the power of God toward you.” - 2 
Co 13:4
“I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; 
and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me 
and gave Himself for me.” - Gal 2:20
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” - Phil 4:13
Are you living daily for Christ, serving Him by the power of His resurrected life?
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Challenges For A Growing Congregation
INTRODUCTION
1. As a congregation grows, it is likely to face various challenges...
a. The devil would certainly love to hinder us in our work - e.g., 1 Th 2:18
b. How he does this may not always be evident, as he is a great deceiver - 2 Co 11:3
-- Through simple and seemingly harmless diversions, the devil can lead us astray
2. We must therefore take up the admonition to “Hold fast...” - Re 3:11
a. Accepting any challenges the devil might throw our way
b. Knowing that our efforts to be “steadfast” are not for naught - 1 Co 15:58
[In this study we will look at some challenges that any congregation must meet to serve the Lord 
faithfully, but especially a growing congregation...]
I. WE MUST REMEMBER WHAT OUR WORK IS
A. TO EQUIP THE SAINTS FOR MINISTRY (EDIFICATION)...
1. We are to provide for the spiritual growth of each member - Ep 4:11-12
2. This is how the body continues to grow - Ep 4:15-16
3 Thus we are to provoke one another to love and good works, the very reason we are to
   assemble together - He 10:24-25
-- Is each one of us doing what we can to help other Christians to grow?
B. TO SOUND FORTH THE GOSPEL OF CHRIST (EVANGELISM)...
1. Like the church at Thessalonica - 1 Th 1:8
2. Through individual and collective efforts, we must “sow the seed”
3. As our building fills, it becomes tempting to slack off, but we must either expand or swarm
(have some leave to start another congregation)
-- Is each one of us doing what we can to spread the gospel?
C. TO PROVIDE FOR NEEDY SAINTS (BENEVOLENCE)...
1. The original purpose behind the weekly collection - 1 Co 16:1-2
2. Even if there is no need locally, there may be needy saints in other places
-- Is each one of us doing what we can to see that needs are being met?
[The work of the local church goes far beyond providing a place where people can simply worship from 
week to week.  We should be preparing ourselves to work!  Will we meet the challenge?  Another 
challenge we must face...]
II. WE MUST LIVE ABOVE PETTINESS
A. EVEN GOOD CHURCHES CAN BE HINDERED BY PETTINESS...
1. Notice Paul’s concern for the church at Philippi - Ph 4:2-3
2. When churches loose sight of their primary purpose, they are ripe for being torn apart by
selfishness, gossip, and factionalism
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B. WE MUST KEEP A PROPER SENSE OF PROPORTION...
1. It is disastrous if we begin to “major in minors”, to blow problems all out of proportion
2. We must see the largeness and importance of our work in comparison to our own personal
problems
a. Every church has its problems, for we are imperfect people
b. Remembering Paul’s exhortations in Ph 2:1-5 will certainly help
[What a sad thing it would be to have a congregation hindered by pettiness.  Yet so many congregations 
do allow it to keep them from growing.  Will we accept the challenge never to allow pettiness to so 
affect us?  It will be easy to meet that challenge, if at the same time we meet another one...]
III.WE MUST MAINTAIN GRATITUDE FOR OUR BLESSINGS
A. WE HAVE MUCH FOR WHICH TO BE THANKFUL...
1. As individuals:
a. We have many physical blessings
1) Our families, friends, homes, health
2) Our freedoms, jobs
b. We have many spiritual blessings
1) Salvation in Christ, the forgiveness of sins, the peace of mind
2) The love of God, the strength of the Holy Spirit, the hope of heaven
2. As a congregation:
a. Free from turmoil, free to worship
b. Filled with love and unity
c. Blessed with good facilities, signs of numerical and spiritual growth
d. Great potential for both individual and congregational growth
B. WE SHOULD BE NOTED FOR OUR “ATTITUDE OF GRATITUDE “...
1. Note how often Paul exhorted the Colossians to be thankful
a. Giving thanks to the Father - Co 1:12
b. Abounding with thanksgiving - Co 2:7
c. As the peace of God rules in your heart, be thankful - Co 3:15
d. Giving thanks to God - Co 3:17
e. Be vigilant in prayer with thanksgiving - Co 4:2
2. As individuals, and as a congregation, let us never become “unthankful”
a. It is a step toward depravity - Ro 1:21
b. It is a sign of perilous times - 2 Ti 3:1-5
CONCLUSION
1. There are many other challenges that congregations may face...
a. Such as persecution for the cause of Christ
b. Or natural calamities that may devastate our community
2. But in most cases, even those challenges can be met and overcome if we...
a. Remember what our work is
b. Live above pettiness
c. Maintain gratitude for our blessings
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With a will to do what the Lord desires of us, and with the “attitude of gratitude” lifting us above any 
sense of pettiness that might drag us down, let us do our part to answer the prayer of Paul:
“...to Him (God) be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and 
ever. Amen.”    (Ep 3:21)
Note:  The main idea and several thoughts from this lesson were taken from a lesson by Gary Henry.  
The URL for his web site containing many excellent articles and sermon outlines is:  
http://www.brasstacks.org
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Church Membership
INTRODUCTION
1. Soon after conversion, or when moving to a new area, people often seek church membership...
a. They desire to become members of a local congregation 
b. Which is a good thing, for both them and the church
2. Often there are questions regarding church membership...
a. What is church membership?
b. Is church membership really necessary?
c. What benefits are there to church membership?
d. What obligations are there to church membership?
e. How does one become a member of the church?
[This study will seek to answer such questions.  Because the Bible speaks of the church in two primary 
senses (universal and local), let’s first consider membership...]
I. IN THE CHURCH UNIVERSAL
A. DEFINITION...
1. The church universal is that church Jesus promised to build - Mt 16:18
2. It is referred to as the body of Christ - Ep 1:22-23
3. There is only one body, or church - Ep 4:4
4. This one body is made up of individual members - Ro 12:4-5; 1 Co 12:27
-- The church universal consists of all Christians, with Christ as the head
B. PRIVILEGES...
1. Those in this church are saved, as Christ is the Savior of the body - Ep 5:23
2. They enjoy all spiritual blessings, which are found only in Christ - Ep 1:3
3. Such blessings include forgiveness of sins - Ep 1:7
4. Such blessings include the privilege of prayer - He 4:14-16
-- Those in the church universal enjoy blessings now and in the future
C. OBLIGATIONS...
1. To remain connected to the Head, the Branch (Christ) - cf. Jn 15:1-8
2. To do their part in the body - Ep 4:15-16
3. To fulfill whatever function they can - Ro 12:4-8
4. To love the brotherhood (all Christians) - 1Pe 2:17; cf. 1:22; 3:8
-- Membership has it privileges, but it also has its obligations
D. BECOMING A MEMBER...
1. Those who were baptized were “added” - Ac 2:41
2. Those being saved were added by the Lord to His church - cf. Ac 2:47
3. By one Spirit they were baptized into one body (the church) - 1 Co 12:13; cf. Ti 3:5
-- One becomes a member of the church universal when they are saved
[If one wishes to be a member of the church universal, they need to obey the gospel of Christ in faith, 
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repentance, and baptism (cf. Mk 16:15-16; Ac 2:38-41).  Then they are ready to become members...]
II. IN THE CHURCH LOCAL
A. DEFINITION...
1. The church local is a group of Christians who meet and work together - e.g., 1 Th 1:1
2. There are many such churches, not just one - Ro 16:16; Ga 1:2; Ac 9:31
3. Some form of membership in such churches is indicated - e.g., Ro 16:1,5; Co 4:9
-- The church local is made up of Christians in one location who agree to work together
B. PRIVILEGES...
1. A spiritual family - Mk 10:28-30; 1 Ti 5:1-2
2. Strength from older Christians - Ro 15:1; Ga 6:1
3. Mutual comfort in addition to that received from God - cf. 2 Co 1:3-5
4. The prayers of brethren - Jm 5:14-16
-- Those in local churches enjoy blessings not experienced by “floaters”
C. OBLIGATIONS...
1. To bear one another’s burdens - Ga 6:2
2. To exhort one another - He 3:12-14
3. To assemble together - He 10:24-25; e.g., Ac 20:7
4. To serve one another with whatever abilities we have - 1Pe 4:10-11
5. To care for one another, and to seek peace - 1 Th 5:11-15
6. To withdraw from brethren walking disorderly - 2 Th 3:6-15
-- Membership has it privileges, but it also has its obligations
D. BECOMING A MEMBER...
1. Membership in a local congregation is not automatic (e.g., the eunuch) - Ac 8:39
2. It is must be sought out by an individual (e.g., Saul) - Ac 9:26a
3. The congregation must be willing to extend fellowship (e.g., Jerusalem) - cf. Ac 9:26b
4. A recommendation can help expedite the process (e.g., Barnabas) - cf. Ac 9:27-28
5. The actual vetting process may vary from congregation to congregation
-- A person becomes a member of a church local when they are accepted as such
CONCLUSION
1. Church membership is a worthy aspiration...
a. Membership in the church universal is necessary for salvation
b. Membership in the church local is needed for spiritual growth and service
2. Church membership in both aspects is attained...
a. First when we are added to church universal by the Lord when we are saved
b. Then when we join ourselves to a local church through mutual consent to work together
Have you become a member of the church universal through obeying the gospel of Christ?  Have you 
become a member of a local church so you can fulfill your duties to Christ and His brethren...?
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The Clarion Voices Of God
INTRODUCTION
1. Sometimes people may wonder:  if there is God...
a. Why hasn’t He made Himself more clearly known?
b. Why has He spoken only through what many view as an antiquated book (the Bible)?
2. I would contend that God has made Himself known...
a. He has spoken in various ways (in addition to a book that is far from antiquated)
b. He has spoken quite loudly (for those willing to listen)
[In what I like to call “The Clarion Voices Of God”, note that...]
I. GOD SPEAKS LOUDLY THROUGH HIS CREATION
A. GOD’S VOICE IN HIS CREATION...
1. Reveals His glory and His handiwork - Ps 19:1-4
2. Reveals His eternal power and divine nature - Ro 1:19-20
-- Through the intelligent design of the universe God says, “I exist!”
B. HOW WELL DO WE LISTEN...?
1. Do we take the time to consider the wonders of the creation?
2. The Psalmist took time to contemplate them - Ps 8:3; 104:24-25; 139:14
3. It prompted Einstein to believe in “an Intelligence that produced the integrative complexity
of creation.”
4. The intelligent design of the universe prompted even a prominent atheist to become a deist
(Anthony Flew)
-- If we open our eyes to the world around us, we will say “I believe!”
[Through His creation we can know that God exists.  But what does this Supreme Being desire of us?  
What does He want us to know or do?  For that...]
II. GOD SPEAKS LOUDLY THROUGH HIS WORD
A. GOD’S VOICE IN HIS WORD...
1. Is designed to produce faith (trust, conviction) - Ro 10:17
2. Fulfilled prophecy is designed to produce faith in God - Isa 42:8-9; 44:6-8; 45:18-21;
46:9-11
3. Eyewitness testimony offers evidence to believe in Jesus - Ac 10:39-42; 1 Jn 1:1-4;
2Pe 1:15-16
4. Through His Providence, God’s Word has spread to every nation and translated into
virtually every language - cf. Ro 10:17-18
5. The manuscript evidence which attests to its authenticity as a historical document far
surpasses any other ancient document (such as those by Socrates, Plato, Homer, etc.)
-- Through His Word God says of Jesus, “This is My Beloved Son, Hear Him!”
B. HOW WELL DO WE LISTEN...?
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1. It was written to produce faith in Jesus - Jn 20:30-31
2. Do we take the time to read the Word of God?  The Bereans did! - Ac 17:11
3. David also, and praised it highly - Ps 19:7-11; 119:97-105
4. We have so much more of God’s Word than did David, shall we not read it?
-- If we open our ears to the Word of God, we will say “I believe in Jesus!”
[Note that God not only revealed His Word, but sent Jesus to this world.  In this way...]
III.GOD SPEAKS LOUDLY THROUGH HIS SON
A. GOD’S VOICE IN HIS SON...
1. God now speaks through His Son Jesus - He 1:1-2
2. Through Jesus God has manifested Himself most fully - cf. He 1:3; Jn 1:14-18
3. The life, teachings, death, and resurrection of Jesus have changed history
4. Countless lives and entire nations have been affected by the sending of His Son
-- Through His Son, God says “This is who I Am, this is what I desire of you”
B. HOW WELL DO WE LISTEN...?
1. Do we listen to what Jesus reveals about God? - Jn 14:6-9
2. Do we heed His warnings regarding eternal life? - Mt 7:13-14,21-23
3. As Jesus said so often, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear!” - Mk 4:9
-- If we will but listen to Jesus, we will say “You have the words of eternal life!”
[God not only sent Jesus into the world, but has sent His disciples throughout the world...]
IV.GOD SPEAKS LOUDLY THROUGH HIS PEOPLE
A. GOD’S VOICE IN HIS PEOPLE...
1. The disciples of Jesus were given a great commission - cf. Mt 28:19; Mk 16:15-16
2. Their duty as the people of God is to proclaim His praises - cf. 1Pe 2:9-10
3. They are to proclaim His message in word and deed, proving what is the good, acceptable,
and perfect will of God - cf. Ro 12:1-2
4. Their love and unity are to speak powerful messages to the world
a. Through love for one another, that they are Christ’s disciples - Jn 13:34-35
b. Through unity, that God loves us and sent His Son into the world - Jn 17:20-23
-- Through His people, God says “I love you, and sent My Son to save you!”
B. HOW WELL DO WE LISTEN...?
1. Their message has gone out into the world, today everyone has the opportunity to hear God
through the lives and words of His people - cf. Ro 10:18; Co 1:23
2. Do we notice the transformation in the lives of true disciples? - cf. 1Pe 2:12
3. Are we willing to listen to the good news they are willing to share? - cf. Ac 17:11
-- If we will but give them our attention, we will say “What shall we do?”
CONCLUSION
1. N.T. Wright in his book, Simple Christianity, mentions universal traits found in mankind...
a. The search for justice
b. The quest for spirituality
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c. The longing for relationship
d. The yearning for beauty
-- Which he suggests are echoes of a voice, calling us toward God
2. I agree, though I would add that we have more than echoes; God has spoken...
a. Through His Creation
b. Through His Word
c. Through His Son
d. Through His People
-- Through such ‘voices’ God has spoken loud and clear!
3. Who are they that fail to hear “The Clarion Voices Of God”?  Only those...
a. Who have shut their eyes
b. Who have closed their ears
c. Who have hardened their hearts
-- Sadly, many have refused to hear the voices of God (Mt 13:15)
As the Psalmist wrote, fools say there is no God (Ps 14:1), and it is the wicked who do not seek Him (Ps
10:4).  Yet the prophet Isaiah calls upon all mankind to:
“Seek the Lord while He may be found, Call upon Him while He is near. Let the 
wicked forsake his way, And the unrighteous man his thoughts; Let him return to the 
Lord, And He will have mercy on him; And to our God, For He will abundantly 
pardon.” - Isa 55:6-7
Are you willing to seek Him, and to heed “The Clarion Voices Of God”...?
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Cohabitation Before Marriage
INTRODUCTION
1. A practice acceptable to many people today is that of cohabitation before marriage...
a. Where a couple who intend to get married decide to live together first
b. In a poll on religion and the family conducted for Religion & Ethics Newsweekly, 49% of
Americans said that cohabitation was acceptable
2. Yet in the August 2005 issue of Psychology Today, there was an interesting article...
a. “The Cohabitation Trap: When ‘Just Living Together’ Sabotages Love” by Nancy Wartik
b. A blurb advertising the article:  “Living together before marriage seems like a smart way to road
test the relationship. But cohabitation may lead you to wed for all the wrong reasons--or turn
into a one-way trip to splitsville.”
3. The article first described the general reasoning behind cohabitation...
a. That many see cohabitation as sort of future laboratory for marriage
b. That living together will help them make informed decisions regarding marriage
[Yet the research suggests something different.  There is a very real danger in cohabitation before 
marriage.  Before we consider that danger, let’s first make clear what the Bible teaches about...]
I. THE SIN OF COHABITATION
A. MARRIAGE IS HONORABLE...
1. The Bible speaks of the honor of marriage - He 13:4
2. Of course, marriage was first instituted by God - cf. Mt 19:4-6
3. It symbolizes the relationship between Christ and His church - cf. Ep 5:22-33
4. It also serves as a deterrent to fornication (sexual immorality) - cf. 1 Co 7:2,8-9
B. COHABITATION IS FORNICATION...
1. Fornication is sex outside of the marriage bond
2. The Greek word porneia includes “adultery, fornication, homosexuality, lesbianism,
intercourse with animals etc.” - Thayer
3. Thus cohabitation falls under the condemnation described earlier - cf. He 13:4
4. It can keep one out of the kingdom of God - 1 Co 6:9-10; Ga  5:19-21
[For those who respect the authority of the Scriptures, cohabitation before marriage is rejected on moral 
grounds.  But as illustrated in the above referenced article, there other reasons to reject it...]
II. THE FOLLY OF COHABITATION
A. COHABITATION UNDERMINES COMMITMENT...
1. Wartik’s summary of the research:
a. “Couples who move in together before marriage have up to two times the odds of
divorce, as compared with couples who marry before living together.” 
b. “Moreover, married couples who have lived together before exchanging vows tend to
have poorer-quality marriages than couples who moved in after the wedding.”
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2. One theory why this happens - the inertia hypothesis
a. Many cohabitating couples get married, but without an explicit decision to commit
b. The marriage is seen simply as the next step in a relationship, not much different than the
decision to live together
3. Men who cohabit are especially less likely to commit in a marriage relationship
a. The hesitancy to commit led them to choose cohabitation in the first place
b. The uncertainty about the relationship often continues after marriage
c. Wartik referenced a 2004 study by psychologist Scott Stanley that found “that men
who had lived with their spouse premaritally were on average less committed to their
marriages than those who hadn’t.”
B. COHABITATION WEAKENS THE MARITAL BOND...
1. The experience of cohabitation itself is detrimental to the marriage bond
2. “A couple of studies show that when couples cohabit, they tend to adopt less conventional
beliefs about marriage and divorce, and it tends to make them less religious.” - Paul
Amato, professor at Penn State University
3. Those who cohabit do not have the same moral imperative to remain faithful after marriage
a. If we are willing to sin with each other before we marry...
b. How do we know we won’t sin against each other after we marry?
4. A successful marriage is one built on trust; such trust is stronger among those who fear the
Lord more than they fear their spouse!
C. COHABITATION INJURIOUS TO CHILDREN...
1. To children whose parents remain in cohabitation
a. “...cohabitation is not an ideal living arrangement for children.” - Wartik
b. “Emotionally or academically, the children of cohabiters just don’t do as well, on
average, as those with two married parents...” - ibid.
2. To children whose parents cohabitate and then marry
a. If born out of wedlock, the stigma of illegitimacy looms
b. Even if born after the marriage, the parents’ example of cohabitation will likely
encourage the children to follow in their steps
CONCLUSION
1. Cohabitation is certainly no indication that one is serious about getting married...
a. Many persons “...have different standards for living partners than for life partners.” - Wartik
b. “People are much fussier about whom they marry than whom they cohabitate with.” - Amato
2. The Biblical concept of marriage is that life partners and living partners are to be the same...
a. That people do not live together until they are willing to commit their lives to one another
b. Such commitment strengthens the marriage bond and provides security for the children
If you desire the best for yourself and your children, then follow the Biblical concept of marriage...!
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Commanded To Love
INTRODUCTION
1. In the minds of many, love is simply an emotion...
a. A feeling that cannot be forced
b. An emotion that can come and go (e.g., “I don’t love you anymore...”)
2. Yet we are commanded to love...
a. And not just in the sense of active good will
b. But also in the sense of affection, friendship
3. It is common to distinguish between two different Greek words for love...
a. Agape (active good will), as that which is commanded
b. Phileo (fondness, friendship), as that which cannot be forced
4. Yet the distinction between the two is not always clear cut...
a. Agape can also be defined as “brotherly love, affection” - Thayer, Strong
b. Phileo is often commanded in the Scriptures
[Perhaps a review of how we are commanded to love is in order.  Also, how we can be taught to develop 
an emotional love towards another person.  Beginning first with the command to love...]
I. WE ARE COMMANDED TO LOVE
A. GOD AND JESUS...
1. We are commanded to love (agape) God with our heart - Mk 12:30
2. We are commanded to love (phileo) Jesus, more than family - 1 Co 16:22; Mt 10:37
B. THOSE IN OUR COMMUNITY...
1. We are commanded to love (agape) our neighbor - Mk 12:31
2. We are commanded to love (agape) our enemies - Mt 5:44
C. THOSE IN OUR FAMILIES...
1. Husbands are to love (agape) their wives (which includes to cherish) - Ep 5:25,28-29
2. Wives are to love their husbands (philandros, to love as a friend) - Ti 2:4
3. Mothers are to love their children (philoteknos, to be fond of one’s children) - Ti 2:4
D. THOSE IN THE CHURCH...
1. We are to love (agape) one another as Christ loved us - Jn 13:34
2. We are to be kindly affectionate (philostorgos, love of family) to one another with
brotherly love (philadelphia, fraternal affection) - Ro 12:10
[It should be evident that the command to love often requires displaying a true, heartfelt, affection
towards another (e.g., Jesus, spouses, children, brethren in Christ).  If commanded, then it must be
something we can develop where lacking.  By the grace of God, we can be taught how to love...]
II. WE ARE TAUGHT HOW TO LOVE
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A. WE CAN BE TAUGHT BY...
1. God
a. Concerning brotherly love (philadelphia) to love one another (agape) - 1 Th 4:9
b. How He sent His Son - 1 Jn 4:9-10
2. Jesus
a. How He was willing to die for us - 1 Jn 3:16
b. How He loved (agape and phileo) His disciples - Jn 11:3,5 (Lazarus, Mary, Martha);
Jn 13:1,34 (the disciples); Jn 13:23; 20:2 (John)
3. Paul
a. Who taught Christians how to walk in love - Ep 5:1-2
b. Who taught husbands how to love their wives - Ep 5:25-33
c. Who practiced brotherly love (agapetos, beloved, dear) - cf. Ph 4:1
4. Peter
a. Who taught us to love one another (phileo and agape) fervently - 1Pe 1:22; 4:8
b. Who taught us to love (agape) the brotherhood, as brethren (philadelphos) - 1Pe
2:17; 3:8
c. Who practiced brotherly love (agapetos, beloved, dear) - cf. 2Pe 3:15
5. Other Christians
a. Older women should be capable of teaching the younger women - Ti 2:3-4
b. Even young Christians can set an example of how to love - 1 Ti 4:12; 2 Th 1:3
B. WE CAN DEVELOP HEARTFELT AFFECTION...
1. Phileo love can be enhanced by adding agape love to it - cf. 2Pe 1:7
2. Display active good will (agape), and heartfelt affection (phileo) will follow - cf. 1 Th 4:9
CONCLUSION
1. We cannot excuse the lack of heartfelt love toward Jesus, our brethren, or our families...
a. By making a distinction between agape and phileo
b. For both kinds of love are commanded, and the two often overlap
2. Where we lack a heartfelt love toward Jesus, our brethren, our family members...
a. We need to acknowledge the deficiency (as a sign of spiritual immaturity)
b. We need to be willing to relearn love (whether it be agape or phileo)
3. When we need to learn love others with a heartfelt love...
a. Look to the examples of the Father, Jesus, the apostles, and other Christians
b. Take the initiative to practice agape love, and phileo love will develop naturally
We have been purified to have unfeigned, affectionate love for one another (philadelphia); do we love 
one another (agape) fervently as we should...? - cf. 1Pe 1:22
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Congregational Evangelism
INTRODUCTION
1. Evangelism is to be a central feature of the Lord’s church...
a. To make disciples of all the nations - cf. Mt 28:19-20
b. To preach the gospel to every person - cf. Mk 16:15-16
2. There are many good ways to evangelize...
a. Public preaching and teaching, private studies and conversations, TV, radio, the Internet
b. What works well often depends on the circumstances, the culture, etc.
3. What works well in many places can be described as “Congregational Evangelism”...
a. Assuming there is a congregation that already exists in a community
b. Assuming its members are willing to do their part to make it work
[The term “Congregational Evangelism” could be used to describe many different efforts by local 
churches.  In this study, I will use it to describe one particular approach...]
I. WHAT IS CONGREGATIONAL EVANGELISM?
A. UTILIZING A CONGREGATION'S MEMBERS...
1. Making use of the members’ contacts
a. Each member has a network of potential contacts
b. These contacts may be family, friends, neighbors, coworkers
2. Making use of the members’ abilities
a. Each member has some ability to offer
b. These abilities may vary; i.e., hospitality, teaching
-- With any congregation of Christians, there is the potential for evangelism
B. UTILIZING A CONGREGATION’S ASSEMBLIES...
1. Making use of the congregation’s assemblies
a. Christians assemble regularly for worship and Bible study
b. These assemblies involve praise to God and interaction with those present
2. What happens can have an impact on those who visit
a. Consider Paul’s comments in 1 Co 14:23-25
b. Note that the impact can be either negative or positive
-- When assemblies are utilized positively, you have “Congregational Evangelism”!
[“Congregational Evangelism” occurs when the members’ utilize their contacts and abilities in 
conjunction with their assemblies to produce a positive effect among those who visit.  Now consider...]
II. HOW CONGREGATIONAL EVANGELISM WORKS
A. BY ACTIVATING THE CONGREGATION’S MEMBERS...
1. The members must commit themselves to evangelism - cf. 1Pe 2:9,10
2. The members must invite people to services (via cards, phone, letters) - cf. Jn 1:46
3. The members must extend kindness to those who visit - cf. He 13:2
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4. The members must display a positive picture for visitors - cf. 1 Co 14:23-25
5. The members must create opportunities for teaching - e.g., Ac 10:24
a. One does not even need to know what to teach
b. They can connect the visitor or prospect with a teacher
-- Everyone must be committed and do that which provides opportunities for those
willing and able to teach
B. BY ACTIVATING THE CONGREGATION’S SERVICES...
1. The members must arrive early
a. Visitors usually arrive early and leave early
b. The best opportunity to visit is before services
2. The members must greet the visitors
a. Greet them in the parking lot
b. Greet them before services begin
c. Members sitting on the back rows are the “welcoming committee”
3. The members must offer worship that edifies - cf. 1 Co 14:23-25,26b
a. By those who lead, setting the example (e.g., enthusiastic)
1) Starting with those who make the announcements
2) Continuing with those who lead in song and prayer
3) And of course, the preacher!
b. By every member also setting an example
1) By how they sing (or do not sing) - cf. 1 Co 14:15
2) By how they pray (do I hear an “Amen”?) - cf. 1 Co 14:15-16
3) By how they listen (with readiness, or apparent boredom?) - cf. Ac 17:11
4. The members must visit with the visitors
a. After services, if not before
b. Visitors must be given priority over other members
1) You can always visit with the members
2) This may be your only opportunity with the visitors
-- When a visitor leaves our services, what will they think?  Will they want to return?
CONCLUSION
1. Hopefully, their experience will encourage them to return again and again...
a. Where there will be opportunity to learn more
b. Where opportunities for personal study will be more likely
c. Where eventually the gospel is shared and gratefully received!
2. “Congregational Evangelism” as defined in this study, is nothing more than...
a. The members of a congregation utilizing their individual contacts, inviting people to services
b. Making sure that those who visit are encouraged by what they see to return
When this happens, the opportunity to sow the seed will be greatly enhanced...!
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Congregational Singing
INTRODUCTION
1. In his web log, Ray Pritchard asked:  “Whatever happened to congregational singing?”...
a. In visiting many (denominational) churches, he often found the practice lacking altogether
b. In some churches that had it, he found the singing lackluster
2. He offered some reasons why such may be the case...
a. Song leader chooses songs no one knows
b. Style issues confuses people (Fanny Crosby vs. Hillsong)
c. Architecture not always conducive to singing
d. Not enough people (e.g., 70 in a building that seats 500)
e. Too many new songs presented too fast
f. Wooden worship leader
g. Musical instruments so loud that singing is overpowered
h. Songs with little sense of order or progression or theme
i. Some congregations seem to not expect members to sing
j. Choirs and orchestras to do their singing for them
k. Lack of spiritual zeal
l. Preachers and other leaders don’t sing
m. Entertainment culture leads us to expect to be entertained
n. We have lost the theological truth that God is to be praised in the singing of His people 
3. In churches of Christ, congregational singing has been held as a matter of principle...
a. In opposition to instrumental music and choirs
b. Yet some churches today are getting away from congregation singing
c. In many churches that have it, the singing seems half-hearted at best
[“Whatever happened to congregational singing?” is a question some may do well to ask themselves.  
In seeking to ensure congregational singing its proper place in our worship, we first review...]
I. THE BASIS FOR CONGREGATIONAL SINGING
A. THERE IS BIBLICAL PRECEPT...
1. The Messianic age to be a time of singing praise - Isa 12:1-6
2. Christians were commanded to sing to one another - Ep 5:19; Co 3:16
-- Prophet and apostle make it clear that we are to sing praises
B. THERE IS BIBLICAL PRACTICE...
1. Jesus and His apostles sang a hymn following the Last Supper - Mt 26:30
2. Heavenly beings and the sainted dead fill heaven with their praise - Re 5:9-14; 7:9-12
-- If such deemed it proper to join together in the praise of God, shouldn’t we?
C. THERE IS BIBLICAL PRINCIPLE...
1. One purpose of singing is to praise the Lord (inherent in the meaning of “hymn”)
2. Another is to teach and admonish one another - Co 3:16
3. A third is to be enriched by the Word and filled with the Spirit - Co 3:16; Ep 5:18-19
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-- Congregational singing reaches upward, outward, and inward!
[But not all congregational singing praises God, teaches one another, and uplifts ourselves.  To help 
reach that goal, here are some suggestions related to...]
II. THE PRACTICE OF CONGREGATIONAL SINGING
A. WHAT SONG LEADERS CAN DO...
1. Lead with enthusiasm
a. The song leader generally sets the tone
b. His influence goes beyond announcing the number and starting the song
c. The song leader’s demeanor should reflect the nature of the songs he leads
2. Lead with familiarity
a. People respond to songs they know and love
b. Few people are able to catch on and sing songs that are new to them
c. Too many new songs, and people get out of the habit of singing with fervor
d. There is a time and place to learn new songs; not every service is the time or place
-- Song leaders need not be accomplished, but they should be thoughtful of their function
B. WHAT THE CONGREGATION CAN DO...
1. Sing with their understanding - 1 Co 14:15
a. It is the words of the songs that express praise and provide edification
b. Melody is enhanced when we pay careful attention to the words
2. Sing with their heart - Ep 5:19; Co 3:16
a. We are to make melody with our hearts, sing with grace in our hearts
b. Thus we should let the words of the song influence our emotions
3. Sing with their voice - Ps 51:14-15; Co 3:16
a. The Psalmist wrote of praising God aloud with his lips, tongue and mouth
b. We are to teach and admonish one another; how can we if we do not hear one another?
4. Sing with their presence - Ps 122:1
a. Practice makes perfect; sing with others whenever there is opportunity
b. Sit close to those who like to sing; you are more likely to sing louder
-- Praising God and edifying others should engage our whole being!
CONCLUSION
1. Congregational singing is a spiritual activity with great potential...
a. Offering hymns of praise to God constitute spiritual sacrifices - He 13:15
b. Teaching and admonishing one another in song is one way we exhort one another - He 10:24-25
2. Whether congregation singing fulfills its potential depends on us...
a. Whether we appreciate the precept, practice, and principle behind it
b. Whether we sing as God intended:  with our whole being (mind, heart, and voice)
May we as a congregation of God’s people always have the attitude of David when it comes to singing...
Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord, O my soul! While I live I will praise the Lord; I will 
sing praises to my God while I have my being. - Ps 146:1-2
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The Conversion Of Saul
INTRODUCTION
1. Fundamental to the Christian faith is the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead...
a. If Christ was not raised, our faith is in vain - cf. 1 Co 15:14,17
b. If Christ was not raised, the apostles were liars - cf. 1 Co 15:15
2. One evidence for the resurrection is the transformation that took place in the lives of those who
knew Jesus...
a. Even a Orthodox Jewish scholar admitted as much
b. “If the disciples were totally disappointed and on the verge of desperate flight because of the
very real reason of the crucifixion, it took another very real reason in order to transform them
from a band of disheartened and dejected Jews into the most self-confident missionary society
in world history.” - Pinchas Lapid, former Chairman of the Applied Linguistics Department at
Israel's Bar-Iland University (TIME, May 7, 1979)
c. He concluded that a bodily resurrection could possibly have been that reason!
3. An amazing transformation that took place was that in the conversion of Saul of Tarsus...
a. A devout Pharisee, persecutor of Christians
b. Who became Paul the apostle, persecuted by his Jewish brethren
[In this lesson we shall consider why Saul’s conversion serves as strong evidence for the resurrection of 
Jesus.  Let’s begin by reading Ga 1:13-14, and noticing...]
I. SAUL’S FORMER MANNER OF LIFE
A. HE PERSECUTED THE CHURCH...
1. In Jerusalem - Ac 8:1-3
2. And beyond - Ac 9:1-2
-- Something he believed he ought to do - Ac 26:9-11
B. HE WAS ADVANCING IN JUDAISM...
1. As a scholar, trained at the feet of Gamaliel - Ac 22:3; cf. 5:34
2. In social standing, advancing beyond many of his contemporaries
a. Holding positions of religious power - cf. Ac 26:12
b. Which likely included access to financial power
-- On the “fast tract” of success among his peers!
C. HE WAS ZEALOUS FOR HIS TRADITIONS...
1. Proud to be a Hebrew - Ph 3:4-5
2. Proud to be a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee - cf. Ac 23:6
a. A conservative sect of the Jews
b. Noted for their opposition to Jesus during His ministry - e.g., Mt 12:14
-- With such a religious background, he was naturally prejudiced - Ac 26:9
[Yet this prejudiced, prominent Pharisee, fierce in his opposition to Jesus and His church, became
one of the most influential Christians of all time.  How did this happen?  Let’s examine several...]
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II. EXPLANATIONS FOR SAUL’S CONVERSION
A. PERHAPS THERE WAS AN ULTERIOR MOTIVE...
1. Could it have been wealth?
a. He had that with the Jews
b. He left it for the poverty of following Christ - cf. 1 Co 4:11-12; Ac 20:33-34
2. Could it have been fame?
a. He had that with the Jews
b. Consider what he experienced as a Christian - cf. 1 Co 4:10,13
1) Regarded as foolish and weak, even by other Christians
2) Viewed as the filth of the world by those in the world
3. Could it have been power?
a. He had this with the Jews
b. Compare this with what he suffered as a Christian - cf. 2 Co 11:24-28
-- Indeed, no ulterior motive can be found to explain Saul’s conversion
B. PERHAPS HE WAS DECEIVED...
1. Then who deceived him?
a. Friends would not, for he was their champion against the Christians
b. Christians could not, because of his persecution against them
1) Putting them into prison, chasing them into other towns - Ac 8:3; 9:1-2
2) Even after his conversion, many feared him - cf. Ac 9:26
2. His testimony does not allow for the possibility of deception
a. He claimed to receive his gospel from Jesus, not man - Ga 1:11-12
b. He claimed to see Jesus raised from the dead - 1 Co 15:8
-- The empirical nature of his testimony precludes the possibility of deception
C. PERHAPS HE WAS MAD...
1. Such was the conclusion of Festus, the governor - Ac 26:24
2. Others have tried to explain his conversion in psychological terms
a. That his intense persecution of Christians gave him a guilt-ridden conscience
b. That combined with the heat on the road to Damascus, he became delirious and only
thought he saw Jesus!
3. Yet consider the testimony of Saul (Paul)
a. He had a clear conscience regarding persecuting the Christians - Ac 23:1
1) It was something he thought he should do - Ac 26:9
2) He did it out of ignorance, for which he knew he received mercy - 1 Ti 1:13
b. He said he saw Jesus more than once
1) Not just on the road to Damascus
2) But on other occasions as well - Ac 18:9-10; 22:17-21; 23:11; 2 Co 12:8-9
-- Read his epistles, do they seem like letters written by a mad man?
D. THE ONLY PLAUSIBLE EXPLANATION:  HE SAW JESUS...!
1. This is the explanation given by Paul (Saul) himself
a. Before the Jerusalem mob - Ac 22:1-16
b. Before King Agrippa and Festus the governor - cf. Ac 26:12-23
2. It is the only explanation that explains his conversion
a. Why he was willing to forego wealth, fame, and power
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b. Why he was willing to suffer poverty, shame, and persecution
-- As he said “I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision...” - Ac 26:19
CONCLUSION
1. The conversion of Saul is best explained by...
a. His testimony that it was the resurrected Jesus who appeared to him
b. Not once, but continuously throughout the rest of his life
-- Serving as one of the greatest evidences for the resurrection of Jesus!
2. What is the significance of the resurrection of Jesus?
a. For the unbeliever, it verifies...
1) The fact of His deity - cf. Ro 1:4
2) The fact of final judgment - cf. Ac 17:30-31
b. For the believer, it verifies...
1) The adequacy of our justification (Jesus’ blood does cover our sins) - cf. Ro 4:25
2) The hope for our own resurrection - cf. 1 Co 15:20-22
Through such evidence as the conversion of Saul, God has born witness to the resurrection of Jesus from 
the dead.  Have you responded to this evidence with the obedience of faith?
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Cremation Or Burial?
INTRODUCTION
1. A practice increasing in popularity is that of cremation as opposed to burial...
a. Cremation is certainly much cheaper
b. Popularized in modern culture (e.g., the cremation scene at the end of Star Wars I)
2. But concerned Christians often ask...
a. Is cremation scriptural?
b. Is cremation sinful?
c. What about loved ones who have been cremated?
[For answers to such questions, it may help to do a Biblical and historical survey concerning the 
practices of cremation and burial.  So let’s begin with..]
I. THE PRACTICE OF CREMATION
A. IN THE BIBLE...
1. The bodies of Saul and his sons were burned, but the bones were buried (twice!) - 1 Sam
31:12-13; cf. 2 Sam 21:12-14
2. Bodies were sometimes burned during times of pestilence - Amo 6:10
3. Bodies were burned as a form of condemnation - Josh 7:15,25; 2 Kin 23:19-20
4. Moab was judged for burning the bones of the king of Edom - Amo 2:1
5. Paul writes of giving his body to be burned, but he was speaking of martyrdom - 1 Co 13:3
-- Nowhere in the Scriptures is cremation spoken of with approval
B. IN HISTORY...
1. “Cremation was the normal practice of Greeks and Romans. Many of them believed in the
immortality of the soul and saw no reason to give special attention to the body.” - Timothy
George, Cremation Confusion
2. “Hindus, with their doctrine of reincarnation, still practice cremation.” - ibid.
3. “Among the early Hebrews cremation was the exception.” - ISBE (revised)
4. “Some rabbis considered the burning of the corpse consistent only with idolatry (Abodah
Zarah i.3).” - ISBE (revised)
5. “The first cremation in America took place in 1876, accompanied by readings from Charles
Darwin and the Hindu scriptures.” - George, ibid.
6. “For many years, relatively few persons (mostly liberals and freethinkers) chose cremation.
But that has changed dramatically. Only 5 percent of Americans were cremated in 1962; by
2000 it was 25.5 percent.” - George, ibid.
-- The practice of cremation is clearly of heathen origin
[Now let’s consider...]
II. THE CUSTOM OF BURIAL
A. IN THE BIBLE...
1. Burial was clearly the custom among the patriarchs
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a. Sarah was buried by Abraham - Gen 23:3-4,17-20
b. Abraham was buried by his sons, Isaac and Ishmael - Gen 25:8-9
c. Deborah, Rebekah’s nurse, was buried near Bethel - Gen 35:8
d. Rachel was buried near Bethlehem by Jacob - Gen 35:19-20
e. Isaac was buried by his sons, Jacob and Esau - Gen 35:29
g. Jacob buried Leah in the family tomb - Gen 49:31
g. Jacob made Joseph swear to bury him in the same place - Gen 47:29-31; 50:2,13
h. Joseph was embalmed in Egypt, later buried at Shechem - Gen 50:26; Josh 24:32
2. Burial was the custom during the Mosaic dispensation
a. Miriam, sister of Moses, was buried in Kadesh - Num 20:1
b. Moses was buried by God Himself in the land of Moab - Deu 34:5-6
c. Joshua was buried in his inheritance at Timnath-Serah - Josh 24:30
d. Samuel was honored with a national burial - 1 Sam 25:1
e. David, Solomon, Hezekiah, and many other kings were buried in the City of David 
- 1 Kin 2:10; 11:43; 15:8; 2 Kin 15:38; 2 Chr 32:33
3. Burial continued to be the custom for Jesus and His followers
a. Jesus was buried in the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea - Mt 27:57-60
b. Stephen was buried after his martyrdom - Ac 8:2
-- The overwhelming evidence in the Bible reveals burial as the preferred custom
B. IN HISTORY...
1. “The main reasons for the Jewish preference for burial appear to be their belief that God
intended for the soul and body to be compatible and their belief (especially in later Judaism)
in the resurrection of the body.” - ISBE (revised)
2. “... clearly the early Christians followed the Jewish practice of burying the dead (see Tert.,
Apol., xlii; Minuc. Felix, Octav., xxxix; Aug., De civ. Dei, i.12, 13).” - ISBE (old)
3. “As the catacombs in Rome attest, the early Christians insisted on burying their dead.
Christian grave sites were called coemeteria (cemeteries), which literally means ‘sleeping
places,’ reflecting belief in a future resurrection. - Timothy George, ibid.
4. “Of course, many martyrs were burned to death, but Christians believed God would bring
them forth unimpaired at the resurrection. ‘We do not fear any loss from any mode of
sepulture,’ declared Minucius Felix, ‘but we adhere to the old and better custom of burial.’
- ibid.
-- Not until recent times did Christians even consider cremation as an alternative
[Having surveyed the Biblical and historical evidence, here are some...]
III.REASONS TO PREFER BURIAL OVER CREMATION
A. CREMATION IS OF HEATHEN ORIGIN...
1. There is no Biblical support for cremation
2. History reveals that cremation is of heathen origin
-- Why choose a practice with such pagan origins?
B. GOD’S PEOPLE ALWAYS PRACTICED BURIAL...
1. That is, as revealed in the pages of the Bible
2. Throughout Patriarchal and Mosaic dispensations, and into the Christian age
-- Why not rather emulate the practice of faithful saints in the Bible?
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C. BURIAL REFLECTS RESPECT FOR THE BODY...
1. “Unlike the Greeks, who regarded the body as a prison of the soul, both Hebrews and
Christians saw it as the integration of human personality.” - ISBE (revised)
2. “Furthermore, the Christian emphasis upon the body of the temple of the Holy Spirit
increased their disinclination toward cremation” - ibid.
a. Our bodies have served as a temple of the Spirit - 1 Co 6:19
b. We honor places where George Washington slept; why not more those bodies where
the Holy Spirit dwelt?
3. Indeed, our bodies do not belong to us, but to the Lord!
a. The body is for the Lord - 1 Co 6:13
b. The body is not our own, but bought at a price - 1 Co 6:19
c. With which we are to glorify God - 1 Co 6:20
-- Which practice, burial or cremation, shows a higher value for the body?
D. BURIAL REFLECTS OUR HOPE IN THE RESURRECTION...
1. We believe in the resurrection of the dead - Jn 5:28-29; Ac 24:15
2. We therefore eagerly await the redemption of our bodies - Ro 8:23-25
3. We believe that what is sown in corruption will be raised in incorruption - 1 Co 15:42-54
-- Which practice better pictures the hope that we have of the resurrection?
CONCLUSION
1. We return to our original question:  Is cremation unscriptural...?
a. It certainly is without scriptural support
b. Burial is certainly a scriptural practice
2. But is cremation sinful...?
a. If one has any doubt as to its approval by God, then it is! - cf. Ro 14:23
b. How much better to have a clear conscience supported by the revelation of God’s Word
3. What of those who have been cremated...?
a. I am content to let the Lord be the Judge
b. We know that the Lord has the power to raise all the dead, no matter what has happened to
their bodies - Re 20:13
Yet the Biblical support is clearly on the side of burial as opposed to cremation.  Burial certainly reflects 
a higher regard for the body, which is also reflected in this prayer of Paul...
“Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole 
spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” -
1 Th 5:23
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Daily Bible Reading - Part One
Why We Need To Make It A Habit
INTRODUCTION
1. John Quincy Adams, the sixth president of our country, once stated...
“So great is my veneration for the Bible that the earlier my children begin to read it the 
more confident will be my hope that they will prove useful citizens of their country and 
respectable members of society.  I have for many years made it a practice to read through 
the Bible once every year.”
2. George Muller, who established many orphanages throughout England, said...
“I believe that the one chief reason that I have been kept in happy useful service is that I 
have been a lover of Holy Scripture.  It has been my habit to read the Bible through four 
times a year; in a prayerful spirit, to apply it to my heart, and practice what I find there.  I 
have been for sixty-nine years a happy man; happy, happy, happy.”
3. Both of these men spoke of the habit of Bible reading...
a. This is a habit which many great people in the past engaged in regularly
b. Many people still do so today
c. But I fear that if the truth were known, fewer and fewer people have developed the habit of
daily reading the Bible
1) Many have probably never read the New Testament from beginning to end
2) Even fewer have never read the entire Old Testament
4. And yet, I agree with...
a. Patrick Henry, who said:  “The Bible is worth more than all other books which have ever been
printed.”
b. Charles Dickens, who wrote:  “The New Testament is the very best book that ever was or
will be known in the world.”
5. For this reason, I have one objective in this lesson and the one to follow:  to encourage every
person to develop the habit of daily Bible reading!
[To help motivate us all in this regard, I wish to point out why it is so important to develop the habit of 
daily Bible reading...]
I. BECAUSE OF THE POWER OF GOD’S WORD TO SAVE - Jm 1:21
A. GOD’S WORD SAVES US BY PRODUCING FAITH... - Ro 10:17
1. Without faith it is impossible to please God - He 11:6
2. Without faith in Jesus we cannot be saved - Jn 8:24
3. The Word Of God was written to produce such saving faith - Jn 20:30-31
B. GOD’S WORD SAVES US BY CAUSING US TO BE BORN AGAIN... - 1Pe 1:22-23
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1. Jesus stressed the necessity of being born again - Jn 3:3-5
2. The rebirth involving water and Spirit comes when one has received the “incorruptible seed”
of God’s Word; in particular, the gospel - 1Pe 1:23-25; Jm 1:18
   C. GOD’S WORD SAVES US BY KEEPING US SAVED... - Ac 20:29-32
1. Paul frequently spoke of this value of God’s Word (especially of the Old Testament)
a. To the Corinthians - 1 Co 10:11-12
b. To Timothy - 2 Ti 3:14-17
2. It is the lack of God’s Word which has always destroyed the people of God - Hos 4:6
II. BECAUSE OF THE POWER OF GOD’S WORD TO COMFORT - Ro 15:4
A. GOD’S WORD COMFORTS THROUGH THE HOPE IT GIVES... - Ro 15:4
1. Paul speaks in this context of the Old Testament
2. Even it provides assurance of hope because it tells how God always keeps His promises
B. GOD’S WORD COMFORTS THROUGH THE “HAPPINESS” IT GIVES...
- Ps 1:1-3
1. Happiness through the stability and nourishment it provides
2. Note that this happiness comes to the one engaged in daily Bible reading! (“day and night”)
C. GOD’S WORD COMFORTS THROUGH THE PEACE IT GIVES... - Ps 119:165
1. With such inner peace, nothing causes them to stumble - Ps 119:92-93
2. As Robert E. Lee has said:  “In all my perplexities and distresses, the Bible has never
failed to give me light and strength.”
[Much more could be said about the value of God’s Word, but I want to stress another reason why 
everyone should develop the habit of daily Bible reading...]
III.BECAUSE WE ARE CREATURES OF HABIT AND TIME
A. AS CREATURES OF HABIT...
1. We either have good habits or bad habits
2. If we have not developed the good habit of daily Bible reading...
3. Then we have developed the bad habit of NOT reading the Bible daily!
B. AS CREATURES OF TIME...
1. We are subject to the limitations time places on us
2. As illustrated by James, our time on earth is brief - Jm 4:14
C. AS CREATURES OF BOTH...
1. If we have not developed the good habit of daily Bible reading...
2. Our time on this earth will one day catch up with us
a. We will have spent our lives on this earth without utilizing the benefits provided by daily
reading of God’s Word
b. Many will have to face God having never read through His Word once!
CONCLUSION
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1. This lesson is being presented to you at the end of another year...
a. Did you develop the habit this year?
b. If not, see how time has once again passed you by, and you have yet to read the Word of God
upon which your soul’s salvation depends!
2. As another year is about to begin, and many resolutions are being made, I want to encourage you to
make Daily Bible Reading one of the top resolutions on your list, so at the end of the next year
things will be different
In the next lesson, I will offer suggestions as to how to make Daily Bible Reading a habit...
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Daily Bible Reading - Part Two
How To Make It A Habit
INTRODUCTION
1. In the previous lesson, I sought to encourage everyone to make daily Bible reading a habit...
a. By emphasizing the value of the Word of God to:
1) Save us
2) Comfort us
b. By stressing we are creatures of habit and time
1) We either have a habit of reading or not reading
2) If we have gotten in the habit of not reading, our time on earth will end without our ever
having read God’s Word
2. In this lesson, I want to offer suggestions for making daily Bible reading a habit in our lives
[To be successful in forming any good habit...]
I. WE NEED TO CREATE A “POSITIVE ADDICTION” TO DAILY BIBLE READING
A. WHAT IS A “POSITIVE ADDICTION”...?
1. Usually when we hear the word addiction, we think of negative addictions
a. Which is simply another word for bad habits
b. Such as smoking, swearing, drinking, gambling
c. When something bad for us:
1) Becomes “second nature”
2) We do it without much effort or thought
d. We become dependent on it, either emotionally or physically
e. When we try to do without it, we experience various degrees of discomfort
2. Positive addiction is when you become dependent upon a good habit
a. For example, exercise can become a positive addiction
1) Those who have made exercise a pleasurable and frequent experience soon
become “addicted” to it
2) So that if they go a few days without exercise, they feel uneasy, depressed, irritable
3) Of course, if they go without exercise long enough, the discomfort will eventually
pass
b. So a positive addiction is a habit which is:
1) Good for you, either physically, mentally, or spiritually
2) A source of pleasure and satisfaction
3) One that should you neglect it, begins to give you “withdrawal pains”
B. WHY IS A POSITIVE ADDICTION TO DAILY BIBLE READING NECESSARY...?
1. It will help you maintain the practice of reading the Bible
2. Should a few days go by without reading the Bible, the “discomfort” experienced will help
motivate you to get “back on track”
3. Most people who have tried to read the Bible daily and did not keep it up...
a. Are people who have never experienced a positive addiction to reading God’s Word
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b. Rather than a pleasurable experience, it was a chore
c. So when they fell behind in their goals, there was little motivation to catch up
[Having explained what I mean by “positive addiction”, here are some thoughts on...]
II. HOW TO CREATE A POSITIVE ADDICTION FOR DAILY BIBLE READING
A. THE PRINCIPLES ARE THE SAME FOR CREATING ANY POSITIVE
ADDICTION...
1. You must make the experience a pleasurable one
a. This is where many people fail when it comes to “exercise”
b. Going about it the wrong way, the daily workouts are painful and miserable
c. Therefore any excuse not to exercise prevents them from keeping it up
2. The same applies to reading the Bible
a. To many, they try to do too much too soon
b. The experience soon becomes little more than “marking a checklist”
B. SOME SUGGESTIONS...
1. Start slow, with small goals
a. Many try to start by reading through the Bible in one year
1) An admirable goal, but most never make it past Exodus or Leviticus
2) Before Bible reading has become a positive addiction, they run into difficult
passages of Scripture
3) They are like beginning joggers who try to run a mile the first time out
b. I would recommend starting with making the New Testament a yearly goal
1) This requires no more than a chapter a day
2) The material is easier, more edifying at the outset
c. Once you have read the New Testament in a year a couple of times
1) You might read through the Old Testament one year
2) Then begin reading through the entire Bible each year
2. Begin each session with prayer
a. Like that found in Ps 119:18:  “Open my eyes, that I may see wondrous things from
Your Law.”
b. This puts us in the most receptive frame of mind - cf. Jm 1:21
3. Read slowly, carefully
a. This helps to prevent reading without comprehending what you read - cf. Ps 1:1-2;
119:15-16
b. Reading out loud at times, as though you were reading to someone else, can help to
read this way
4. Make use of Bible study aids
a. Especially a Bible dictionary, and Bible maps
b. Don’t observe the “pass over”, passing over...
1) Words you don’t understand
2) Names you don’t know
3) Places unfamiliar to you
c. Every time you do, there is that much more of the Bible you don’t understand, don’t get
anything out of it
d. Take a moment to look them up in the references
5. Discuss what you read with others
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a. Encourage others to follow the same program of reading
b. Share your discoveries, the passages that encourage you
6. Read with the intention to do what it says
a. Otherwise, you are wasting your time! - Jm 1:22-24
b. The true joy comes in the application of God’s Word (another “positive addiction” to
develop) - Jm 1:25
7. End each session with prayer
a. Like that expressed in Ps 119:5-6
b. Or the one found in Ps 119:10-11
CONCLUSION
1. I have found that following these suggestions the practice of reading the Bible becomes one of great
joy:  “I rejoice at Your word as one who finds great treasure.” - Ps 119:162
2. Done on a regular basis, a “positive addiction” for daily Bible reading quickly develops which helps
one to keep up this wonderful habit
3. I hope that in some way I have encouraged everyone...
a. To begin if they have never done so
b. To continue if they are doing so
c. To try again if they tried in the past and failed
For there is so much to gain, and there is so much to lose!
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Dear Reverend
INTRODUCTION
1. I occasionally receive letters or e-mail with the salutation “Dear Reverend...”
a. From people who are well-intentioned and seek only to show respect
b. For this is considered common courtesy and proper etiquette in addressing ministers
2. Regarding the word “reverend” as used in the Bible...
a. It is used only of God in our English Bible (KJV, ASV) - Ps 111:9
b. Other translations use these words:
1) “awesome” (NKJV, NASB, NIV, NRSV)
2) “fearsome” (CEV)
3) “awe-inspiring” (CSB)
4) “terrifying” (GW)
c. The Hebrew word (yare) is applied to men several times
1) Parents - Lev 19:3
2) Moses and Joshua - Josh 4:14
3) David - 1 Sam 18:29
3. Yet the term “Reverend” has become one of many titles worn by various religious leaders...
a. In Orthodox churches, the following are used depending upon one’s position:
1) His All Holiness, His Beatitude, His Eminence, His Excellency
2) The Right Reverend, The Very Right Reverend
3) The Very Reverend Father, Reverend Father, Mother Superior
b. Among Protestant churches, it is not uncommon to find these titles:
1) Father, Doctor
2) Apostle, Bishop, Pastor, Elder, Deacon
3) Evangelist, Preacher, Minister, Teacher
[Is the use of such titles appropriate?  How about when describing what one does in the service of the 
Lord?  To answer these questions, consider first...]
I. THE USE OF TITLES
A. CONDEMNED BY JESUS...
1. The scribes and Pharisees loved to be called by men, ‘Rabbi, Rabbi’ - Mt 23:7
2. Jesus forbid His disciples from being called:
a. Rabbi - Mt 23:8
b. Father - Mt 23:9
c. Teacher - Mt 23:10
B. FOR EXALTING MEN...
1. Jesus condemns the use of titles and salutations that exalt men above another
2. This is evident from the context
a. The scribes and Pharisees loved being exalted by men - Mt 23:6-7
b. But this is contrary to the principle of servitude and humility - Mt 23:11-12
c. We are to view ourselves equally as brethren - Mt 23:8
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[It is the use of religious titles that exalt men over others that Jesus condemns.  Yet some of the same 
terms might rightly be used to describe what one does in the service of the Lord...]
II. THE USE OF DESCRIPTIONS
A. APPROVED BY THE APOSTLES...
1. Paul and Peter frequently used descriptive terms
a. Such as apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor, teacher - Ep 4:11
b. Such as elder, bishop, deacon - 1Pe 5:1-2; Ph 1:1
2. Paul even used the term “father” in reference to himself
a. In his epistle to the Corinthians - 1 Co 4:15
b. In a similar vein, he thought of Timothy as his son - 1 Co 4:17
B. FOR DESCRIBING WHAT ONE DOES...
1. Such terms were used to describe:
a. What individuals did in the service to the Lord
b. What their function was in the body of Christ - cf. Ro 12:3-8
c. How they ministered to their brethren and to the Lord
2. The terms were not used as official titles
a. Such as “Apostle so-and-so”, “Father ...”
b. Or even “Elder ...”, “Pastor ...”, “Deacon ...”, “Evangelist ...”
c. Paul, Peter, etc., were never called “Apostle Paul”, “Apostle Peter”, etc., though the
term was often used to describe their service to the Lord - e.g., Ro 1:1; 1 Co 1:1
CONCLUSION
1. The difference may seem insignificant, but there is a distinction between using terms...
a. As titles by which to address someone - e.g., “Evangelist Mark Copeland”
b. As descriptions of the service one provides - e.g., “Mark Copeland, Evangelist”
2. The difference is between...
a. Obeying the teaching of Christ, our Lord and Teacher - Mt 23:8-10
b. Understanding the proper use of descriptions by the apostles of our Lord - Ep 4:11
3. Those who have humbled themselves will have no problem with the Lord’s admonition...
a. They will not be offended if people do not use titles to address them
b. If it was good enough for Paul or Peter to be called by their first names, it is good enough for
Mark, Joe, Sam, etc.
The use of titles is loved by those who desire to be exalted in the eyes of their associates; how much 
better to be exalted in the eyes of the Lord! - cf. 1Pe 5:5
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Dig Your Well Before You’re Thirsty
INTRODUCTION
1. Our title comes from a book with the same title by Harvey Mackay...
a. Extolling the value of networking for success in life and business
b. Illustrating the importance of preparation to succeed and survive
2. The title illustrates a simple yet important fact of life...
a. You cannot wait until you are thirsty to begin digging a well
b. If you do, you will likely die of thirst before you get the water you need
c. You must prepare ahead of time, before the need arises
3. As I read the book, parallels to the Christian life were clearly evident...
a. There are times of spiritual “thirst”
b. If we wait until such times to “dig our wells”, we may be too late
c. We need to be “digging our wells” now!
[Are you digging your well before you’re thirsty?  Maybe it would help to be reminded of ...]
I. THE NEED FOR WELLS
A. THE DAY OF JUDGMENT...
1. There is a day of judgment coming
a. In which the world will be judged - Ac 17:30-31
b. In which we will all stand before Christ - Ro 14:10-12; 2 Co 5:10
2. A day of salvation for some, condemnation for others
a. Some will hear good news - Mt 26:34
b. Others will hear terrible words - Mt 26:41
-- It will be too late to begin “digging wells” if we are spiritually “thirsty” on that day!
B. THE TIMES OF TEMPTATION...
1. The Christian life is fraught with temptation
a. Because of our adversary, the devil - 1Pe 5:8
b. Because of our own fleshly desires - Jm 1:14; Mk 7:21-23
2. Temptations should not be taken lightly
a. We can become hardened by the deceitfulness of sin - He 3:12-13
b. We might fall away during the time of temptation - Lk 8:13
-- Do we have “wells” to quench our spiritual thirst when we are tempted?
C. THE PERIODS OF TRIBULATION...
1. The Christian life is not always easy
a. As Jesus warned the apostles - Jn 16:33
b. As Paul warned the disciples - Ac 14:21-22
2. The trials or tribulations we may face can be quite diverse
a. Some because we are Christians - 2 Ti 3:12
b. Others because we share in the frailties of life:  sickness, pain, death; economic
recession, loss of jobs; terrorism, war, natural calamities
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-- We better have our “wells” dug in advance if we are survive such “droughts”!
[In the face of such “droughts”, what can we do?  Dig your “wells” before you’re thirsty...!]
II. DIGGING OUR WELLS
A. PREPARING FOR JUDGMENT...
1. Remember what God has provided
a. His Son as an atonement for sin - 1 Jn 4:9-10
b. The good news of salvation to the whole world - Mk 16:15; Co 1:23
2. Realize what we must do
a. Respond to the gospel of His grace - Ac 2:36-39
b. Remain faithful in our devotion and service - Re 2:10
-- Have you begun digging your wells by obeying the gospel of Christ?
B. PREPARING FOR TEMPTATION...
1. Remember what God has provided
a. His Providence in time of temptation
1) He will not allow us to be tempted beyond what we are able - 1 Co 10:13
2) Who is able to work all things for our good - Ro 8:28,31-39
b. His Spirit to help us overcome
1) To strengthen the inner man - Ep 3:16; Ro 8:12-14
2) To develop the character necessary - Ga 5:22-23
c. His family to support in our efforts
1) Himself as our Father - 1 Jn 3:1
2) His children as our brothers and sisters - 1 Ti 5:1-2
d. His Son as our Advocate and propitiation 
1) Who stands ready to assist us when we have sinned - 1 Jn 2:1-2
2) Whose blood will cleanse from all sin as we confess - 1 Jn 1:7-9
2. Realize what we must do
a. Pray that you enter not into temptation
1) As Jesus taught on the Sermon on the Mount - Mt 6:13
2) As He told His disciples in Gethsemane - Mt 26:41
b. Be filled with His Spirit by imbibing the Word
1) Singing praises and making melody in our hearts to the Lord - Ep 5:18-19
2) Teaching one another in song, letting the Word dwell in us richly - Co 3:16
c. Develop and strength our relationships with the members of our Family
1) Communing with God in prayer - He 4:14-16
2) Exhorting one another - He 3:12-14
d. Repent and confess when we sin
1) To God - 1 Jn 1:9
1) To one another - Jm 5:16
-- Are you digging your wells by continuing steadfastly in prayer, in the Word and in
fellowship with the family of God?
C. PREPARING FOR TRIBULATION...
1. Remember what God has provided
a. Hope to help us endure
1) A joyful hope that we might be patient in tribulations - Ro 12:12; 1Pe 1:3-6
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2) An abounding hope empowered by the Spirit of God - Ro 15:13
b. Peace that only Christ can offer
1) A peace the world cannot provide - Jn 14:27
2) One that can guard our hearts and minds - Ph 4:6-7
c. Strength found only in Christ
1) That provides us with patience, longsuffering, joy - Co 1:11
2) By which we can do all things in a spirit of contentment - Ph 4:10-13
d. Given us brethren to comfort us in our trials
1) Who comfort us with the comfort they receive from God - 2 Co 1:3-5
2) Who comfort us with words of hope and encouragement - 1 Th 4:18; 5:11,14
2. Realize what we must do
a. Focus our hope
1) Setting our minds on the grace to be revealed - 1Pe 1:13
2) Benefiting from the patience and comfort of the Scriptures - Ro 15:4
b. Nurture our peace
1) Through fervent prayer - Ph 4:6-7; cf. Ro 15:13
2) Through following Paul’s admonition and example - Ph 4:8-9; cf. 2 Co 13:11
c. Develop our strength
1) Through asking for it, as Paul did for the Ephesians - Ep 3:16
2) By putting on the armor of God - Ep 6:10-18
d. Build our network of brethren
1) Ministering to one another - He 6:10-12
2) Assembling together, exhorting one another, loving one other - He 10:24-25; 13:1
-- In what condition are your wells pertaining to your hope, your peace, your strength,
and your brethren?
CONCLUSION
1. If you paid close attention, you will have noticed the wells have already been dug...
a. The wells of salvation provided by God - Isa 12:1-3
b. Offering the water of life - e.g., Jn 4:13-14; 7:37-39; Re 22:16-17
-- God offers the wells necessary to quench our thirst in times of spiritual drought!
2. Our task, then, may be similar to that of Isaac’s...
a. The wells of his father Abraham had been stopped up by the Philistines - Gen 26:15
b. He had to re-dig the wells for them to be of any use - Gen 26:28
-- Do we need to “re-dig the wells” of our Heavenly Father?
Have we let the “wells of salvation” God graciously provides to become stopped up through our own 
spiritual neglect?  If so, then be sure to “Dig Your Well Before You’re Thirsty”...!
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Disappointments New Christians Face
INTRODUCTION
1. There is great joy in seeing new Christians grow in the faith - 2 Jn 4; 3 Jn 3-4
2. Unfortunately not all new Christians grow as they should - cf. Lk 8:13-14
3. Problems and disappointments often overwhelm them, and some even fall away
4. This ought to concern older Christians, for we have a responsibility to those who are young  in the
faith - Ga 6:1-2; Ro 15:1-2
[This lesson is designed to help us understand and deal with some of the disappointments new Christians 
face.  For example, a problem that is troubling to some is...]
I. SAME WEAKNESSES AS BEFORE (Disappointed with themselves)
A. MANY BECOME CHRISTIANS WITH JOYFUL ANTICIPATION...
1. Excited about forgiveness of sins - cf. Ac 8:39
2.   “           “     the chance to start over
3.   “           “     the help God is going to give them to change
B. BUT WHEN THEY SOON DISCOVER...
1. That the temptations are just as strong as before (sometimes even stronger!)
2. They can easily be discouraged and overcome - cf. Lk 8:13
C. HOW CAN WE HELP...?
1. By teaching them that “transformation” is an ongoing process - Ro 12:1-2; Co 3:5-11
2. By reminding them of God’s willingness to forgive and provide strength - 1 Jn 1:9; 2:1; Ph
2:12-13
[A stumbling block to many new Christians is...]
II. IMPERFECT CHRISTIANS (Disappointed by their brethren)
A. THEY WITNESS INCONSISTENCY IN THE LIVES OF OTHERS...
1. They see those who do not practice what they preach
2. It really hurts when seen in those they had looked up to
3. But this problem is not a new one - Ga 2:11-14
B. ILL TREATMENT BY CHRISTIANS...
1. May occur in Bible classes, business meetings, at work, at play
2. Where harsh words can be devastating to those new in the faith
C. WHAT CAN WE DO...?
1. First, set better examples! - cf. 1 Ti 4:12
2. Confess wrong when it occurs
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3. Help the new Christian realize that older Christians are also going through the process of
“transformation” - cf. Ph 3:12-14
[Then there is the problem of...]
III.TRIALS AND TEMPTATIONS (Disappointed by the world)
A. SUCH AS PLEASURES AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE WORLD...
1. Often drawing the new Christian away (e.g., job, family, hobbies)
2. Choking them to the point of unfruitfulness - Lk 8:14
B. AND DISCOURAGEMENT BY UNCONVERTED FRIENDS...
1. Who want them to come back to the things of the world
2. As Paul warned in 1 Co 15:33-34
C. WHAT CAN WE DO...?
1. Demonstrate what it means to “seek first the kingdom of God” - Mt 6:33
2. Make it clear by our own example who it is we love the most (i.e., not our jobs, hobbies) 
- 1 Jn 2:15-17
3. Develop close friendships with new Christians in the Lord
a. Friendships centered around Christ and His work
b. Not just social interests
[Due to much misinformation about the Christian life, a problem some new Christians have is...]
IV.FALSE CONCEPTIONS ABOUT PROSPERITY (Disappointed by lack of success)
A. THINKING THAT NOW ALL OUR PROBLEMS WILL GO AWAY...
1. An idea propagated by the “gospel of health and wealth” teachers
2. But such is not always the case, even as it was in the days of the first century - 1Pe 1:6-9;
Jm 1:2-4
B. WE NEED TO PREPARE NEW CHRISTIANS FOR POSSIBLE ADVERSITY...
1. Even as Paul did - Ac 14:21-22; 2 Ti 3:12
2. This need is especially great because Satan often strikes hardest when one is new in the
faith
[Finally, there is often the problem of...]
V. TOO MUCH NEGATIVE TEACHING (Disappointed by their preachers)
A. SUCH AS CONSTANTLY EXPOSING DENOMINATIONAL ERRORS...
1. Certainly there is a place for learning about those in error - 2 Ti 4:1-2; Ac 20:27
2. But there can be dangers involved in doing so...
a. If it is done in an arrogant, self-righteous spirit
b. If it is done to make us feel good or superior
c. If it is done to the exclusion of learning what we need to do
3. If we are not careful, it can create carnal Christians, given to strife and envy
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B. WHEN NEGATIVE TEACHING IS CALLED FOR...
1. It should be done:
a. For the purpose of trying to understand and teach those in error
b. Out of love for those in error
2. It should be done as Paul did it...
a. With prayer for their souls - Ro 10:1
b. With recognition for their accomplishments - Ro 10:2-3
3. It should be done with the qualities mentioned in 2 Ti 2:24-26
CONCLUSION
1. There may be other disappointments new Christians face, but I have found these to be quite
common
2. Finally, it may help to quickly point that Christians generally go through four stages of spiritual
growth...
a. The ball of fire stage, following their conversion to Christ
b. The reality stage, when the disappointments start to come in 
c. The up and down stage...
1) Here, people either grow through it to the next stage...
2) Or they fall away, or become apathetic (i.e., “pew-warmers”)
d. Finally, those who persevere reach the stage of steady as she goes, where growth is
progressive and steady:
“But the path of the just is like the shining sun,
That shines ever brighter unto the perfect day.” - Pro 4:18
3. To reach that stage where we will grow steadily...
a. We need to have realistic expectations of problems to come
b. We need to be sure we are converted to Christ, not the church, teacher, or friend
Have you been converted to Jesus Christ...?
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Divine Signposts
INTRODUCTION
1. In our efforts to lead people to Christ...
a. We understand the importance of the Word of God - Ro 10:17
b. The gospel is the power of God to salvation - Ro 1:16
2. Yet it helps to complement the Word with a demonstration of certain qualities whereby...
a. People can see the truth of the gospel in action
b. People are more likely to believe in Jesus Christ
3. When demonstrated by Christians in a local church, these ‘signposts’ can serve to...
a. Let the nonbeliever know:
1) There is a God Who loves him or her
2) Who has sent Jesus as a manifestation of that love
b. Let the true searcher know:
1) Those who are disciples of Christ
2) Who can thus lead him or her to Christ
[There are at least four such “Divine Signposts”, one being...]
I. THE SIGNPOST OF UNITY
A. THE VALUE OF UNITY OF BELIEVERS... 
1. It shows that God has sent Christ - Jn 17:21,23
2. It shows that God has loved the world - Jn 17:23
B. SO UNITY IS A SIGNPOST TO THE WORLD...
1. That God loves the world - cf. Jn 3:16
2. That God sent Christ who produces the unity witnessed by the world - cf. Ep 2:13-16
C. THUS THE IMPORTANCE OF UNITY...
1. Led Paul to condemn division and those who cause it - 1 Co 1:10; Ro 16:17-18
2. Led Paul to teach attitudes essential to preserving unity - Ep 4:1-3; Ph 2:2-4
[Let’s be sure that we do nothing to destroy the ‘signpost’ of unity; rather, let’s work toward enhancing 
its effectiveness.  Another ‘signpost’ that points one in the right direction is...]
II. THE SIGNPOST OF LOVE
A. THE VALUE OF LOVE FOR ONE ANOTHER... 
1. It shows that we have been loved by Christ, whose love we seek to emulate - Jn 13:34
2. It shows that we are truly His disciples - Jn 13:35
B. SO LOVE IS A SIGNPOST TO THE WORLD...
1. That Christ has loved His disciples - cf. Jn 15:12-13
2. That those who emulate His love are His true disciples - cf. Ep 5:1-2
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C. THUS THE IMPORTANCE OF LOVE...
1. Led Paul to encourage churches to increase in love - 1 Th 4:9-10
2. Led Paul to consider love as the “bond of perfection” - Co 3:14
a. Here we see that love and unity go together
b. By our love for one another, we are more likely to preserve our unity in Christ
[Unity and love also go hand in hand as “Divine Signposts”.  The first lets people know God loves 
them, and the second shows people who are the followers of Christ.  Now for a third ‘signpost’ ...]
III.THE SIGNPOST OF HOPE
A. THE VALUE OF HOPE...
1. It can prompt people to ask us questions - 1Pe 3:15
2. It can provide us opportunity to share the reason for our hope - 1Pe 3:15
B. SO HOPE IS A SIGNPOST TO THE WORLD...
1. Presuming that our hope is something:
a. Noticeable, prompting people to ask “Why?”
b. Based upon reason, i.e., evidences for our faith
2. Especially when our hope is:
a. Accompanied by peace and joy - Ro 5:1-2
b. Steadfast even in tribulation - Ro 5:3-4
c. Based upon the love of God - Ro 5:5
d. Made sure by the resurrection of Jesus - 1Pe 1:3-4
C. THUS THE IMPORTANCE OF HOPE...
1. Led Peter to command Christians to set their hope fully on the grace to come - 1Pe 1:13
2. Led Peter to command Christians to always be ready to explain their hope - 1Pe 3:15
[To unity, love, and hope as “Divine Signposts”, let’s now consider a final ‘signpost’...]
IV. THE SIGNPOST OF GOOD WORKS
A. THE VALUE OF GOOD WORKS...
1. They can lead men to glorify our Father in heaven - Mt 5:16
2. They can lead men to glorify God in the day of visitation - 1Pe 2:12
B. SO GOOD WORKS IS A SIGNPOST TO THE WORLD...
1. Directing people to consider the motivation behind such works
2. Opening people up to the gospel message which inspires such works - cf. 1Pe 3:1-2
C. THUS THE IMPORTANCE OF GOOD WORKS...
1. Led Paul to command that we be ready for every good work - Ti 3:1
2. Led Paul to command that we be careful to maintain good works - Ti 3:8,14
CONCLUSION
1. With such “Divine Signposts”, we can see how people can be led to Christ...
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a. Our unity can convince people of God’s love for them in sending Christ
b. Our love can direct them to true disciples of Christ
c. Our hope can prompt them to ask questions as to the reason for our faith
d. Our good works can encourage them to glory God by their own obedience to the gospel
2. This is no way takes away from the power of the gospel to save souls...
a. But the Lord intended for His church to be a city set on a hill
b. Which by demonstrating certain qualities as a group would draw people to Him
Without these “Divine Signposts”, we make it a lot harder for souls who are searching to find their 
Savior and His gospel!  Are we doing our part in the local congregation to display unity, love, hope and 
good works...?
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Emotion Vs. Emotionalism
INTRODUCTION
1. To emote or not to emote, that is the question...
a. Many decry the lack of emotion in the worship and lives of others
b. Others warn against emotionalism as they look down on any display of emotion
2. Can we have emotion without succumbing to emotionalism?  I believe we must!
a. Emotions have a scriptural role in the life of the Christian
b. Yet when emotions become emotionalism, there is a grave danger
[How can we have emotion without emotionalism?  Let’s first consider that there are...]
I. TWO EXTREMES TO AVOID
A. EMOTIONALISM...
1. That “better felt than told” sort of religion
a. Where people depend more on what they feel in their heart
b. Rather than on what they read in their Bible
2. Where worship is characterized by unrestrained outbreaks of emotion
a. E.g., rolling in the aisles
b. E.g., bursting out  in unintelligible words
3. Such emotionalism...
a. Disobeys the scriptural admonition for worship in a decent and orderly fashion - cf. 
1 Co 14:40
b. Overlooks the warning:  “He who trusts in his own heart is a fool...” - Pro 28:26
B. FORMALISM...
1. In which there is a complete lack of emotion in worship and service
a. Perhaps in reacting against emotionalism
b. Resulting in a “dead pan” attitude
c. Where songs are sung and sermons preached with little reaction by those engaged
2. Such lack of “heartfelt” religion is contrary to what Jesus taught
a. Condemning a religion in which one’s heart is far removed from Him - Mt 15:7-8
b. Commending a love for God that involves the whole heart - Mt 22:37-38
[The tendency is to go from one extreme to another.  Formalism can be avoided by remembering...]
II. EMOTION HAS A PROPER PLACE
A. EMOTION IS NECESSARY...
1. There is to be the emotion of love - 1Pe 4:8; 1 Co 16:22
2. There is to be the emotion of hope - Ro 12:12
3. There is to be the emotion of joy - Ph 4:4
4. There is to be the emotion of sorrow - 2 Co 7:10
5. There is to be the emotion of hate - Pro 8:13
6. There is to be the emotion of fear - Mt 10:28
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-- There is a place for emotion in the life of the Christian!
B. EMOTION MUST BE ROOTED IN THE WORD...
1. Scriptural emotions must be rooted in faith
a. Such faith comes by hearing the Word of God
b. This requires the use of our intellectual faculties
2. Notice how the Word of God is designed to stimulate emotion:
a. Reading of God’s love, we should be moved to love - 1 Jn 4:9-11
b. Told of promises awaiting us, we are motivated to hope - 1Pe 1:3-4,13
c. Informed of Jesus’ reconciling work, we are moved to rejoice - Ro 5:10-11
d. Rebuked by the Word, it produces sorrow - 2 Co 7:8
e. Filled with knowledge, we come to hate certain things - Pro 1:7; 8:13
f. Reading of the warnings in Scriptures, we are moved to fear - He 10:25-27
-- Scriptural emotions are based upon the Word of God
C. EMOTION MUST PRODUCE THE PROPER FRUIT...
1. Scriptural emotions must bear fruit
a. The emotions evoked by Scripture are there for a purpose
b. Unless the proper fruit is borne, it is simply emotionalism
2. Notice the kind of fruit borne by scriptural emotions:
a. The emotion of love bears fruit in obedience - Jn 14:15; 1 Jn 5:3
b. The emotion of hope bears fruit in patience - Ro 8:24-25
c. The emotion of joy bears fruit in sacrifice - 2 Co 8:2-5
d. The emotion of sorrow bears fruit in repentance - 2 Co 7:10
e. The emotion of hate bears fruit in rejecting error - Ps 119:127-128
f. The emotion of fear bears fruit in departing from evil - Pro 16:6
-- Scriptural emotions will produce fruit in the life of the Christian!
[While formalism can be avoided by understanding the necessary and proper for emotion in the life of 
the Christian, how does one avoid emotionalism?  One way is to remember...]
III.WHEN EMOTION BECOMES EMOTIONALISM
A. WHEN EMOTION BECOMES AN END TO ITSELF...
1. When people stress emotion for emotion’s sake
2. When people forget that emotions are a means to an end
a. To motivate one to produce the proper fruit
b. The goal is not the emotions, but the fruit they are intended to produce
-- If all we display is emotion, not bearing the proper fruit, we are guilty of
emotionalism!
B. WHEN EMOTION IS NOT BASED ON GOD’S WORD...
1. When one is led by the thoughts and intents of one’s heart
a. Remember the warning of Pro 28:26
b. Consider also these warnings - Jer 17:9; Mk 7:21-23
2. Our emotions must be rooted in God’s Word - cf. Pro 3:5
-- If our emotions are based upon anything other than the Word of God, we are guilty
of emotionalism!
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C. WHEN EMOTION IS THE BASIS FOR YOUR FAITH...
1. When we allow feelings to dictate what we believe
2. Such as when a person...
a. Refuses to obey what we read in the Scriptures, because he “feels” it should be different
b. Tries to change the meaning of a passage to support what he “feels” is right
-- If our faith is based upon emotions, we are guilty of emotionalism!
CONCLUSION
1. The capacity to feel and express emotions is a wonderful gift from God...
a. It allows us to respond to the wonderful truths found in God’s Word
b. It motivates to higher levels of service in response to God’s Will
-- But like all good things, the capacity of emotion must be properly used
2. To avoid both extremes of emotionalism and formalism...
a. Let our hearts be deeply moved by the Word of God
b. Let such emotion provoke us to bear the proper fruit God desires
“Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may 
abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” - Ro 15:13
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Evangelism Made Easy
INTRODUCTION
1. With the Great Commission Christians are given a great task...
a. To make disciples of all the nations - Mt 28:19
b. To go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature - Mk 16:15
2. It was a task accepted by the early disciples...
a. They went everywhere, preaching the Word - cf. Ac 8:4; 1 Th 1:8
b. The gospel was proclaimed to everyone - cf. Co 1:23; Ro 10:17-18
3. But how about today...?
a. Is the gospel being shared by most Christians?
b. “Are you sowing the seed of the kingdom, brother?”
[It does not require great knowledge or expertise to share the gospel with others.  It can be done quite 
easily and often very effectively...]
I. USE CORRESPONDENCE COURSES
A. CHALLENGES INVOLVING EVANGELISM...
1. Finding prospects for study
2. Setting up the study
3. Teaching the material
4. Answering questions
5. Asking for a decision
-- Such challenges have hindered many from getting involved in evangelism
B. CORRESPONDENCE COURSES ELIMINATE THESE CHALLENGES...
1. Through various methods of advertising, or a simple offer to a friend or acquaintance...
a. You find people who want to study the Bible
b. The study is automatically set up by those who respond to the offer
2. Through the use of a Bible correspondence course...
a. The students teach themselves!
b. If questions are raised, you can study and answer them at your leisure
c. People are given the opportunity to make a decision
-- It becomes quite easy to share the gospel, even if one is a babe in Christ!
[While there are many ways to advertise a correspondence course, I highly recommend direct mail...]
II. USE DIRECT MAIL
A. THERE ARE DIFFERENT WAYS TO ADVERTISE...
1. In the paper, on the radio or TV
2. Using the Internet via a web site
3. Direct mail, through mass or targeted mailings
-- For reaching people in a local community, direct mail has its advantages
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B. ADVANTAGES OF USING DIRECT MAIL...
1. You can target a specific audience
a. E.g., a mass mail out to a particular zip code
b. E.g., a targeted mailing to neighbors and friends
2. Everyone glances at their mail
a. As opposed to the TV, radio, newspaper
b. Even it is junk mail
3. It is non-intrusive and non-confrontational
a. You never interrupt their dinner, sleep, or favorite TV program
b. You can reach people who otherwise might not open doors or give the time of day
-- Direct mail almost guarantees that contact can be made with any person
[Not all correspondence courses are designed with the direct mail approach in mind.  There is one that I 
highly recommend...]
III.USE “JESUS, THE WAY”
A. ABOUT “JESUS, THE WAY”...
1. Authored by Sewell Hall, developed while preaching in England
2. Contains seven lessons presenting Jesus as the way to many blessings
3. Perhaps the least expensive course available
-- Simple, easy to complete, yet adequate in presenting the gospel
B. ADVANTAGES OF “JESUS, THE WAY”...
1. The first lesson is designed for being sent via direct mail
2. The first lesson presents gospel fundamentals, unlike courses which do it in later lessons
3. Attention is focused on Jesus and His will for us
-- Even if the first lesson is not returned, the gospel has been shared!
[Whether it be “Jesus, The Way” or some other course designed for direct mail, let me now offer...]
IV. USE A PLAN OF ACTION
A. PERSONAL PLANS...
1. Mail the first lesson to 50 homes in your neighborhood
2. Give or mail the first lesson to your friends and family
3. Every person who receives the first lesson has been exposed to the gospel
-- If you can slap on an address label, you can evangelize!
B. CONGREGATIONAL PLANS...
1. Mail the first lesson to every home in the community, or to select postal codes
2. Advertise the course in local papers, or even print the entire first lesson in the paper
3. Offer the course to the world via a web site on the Internet
-- The opportunities are endless, provided sowers are willing to sow the seed!
CONCLUSION
1. If you are willing to sow the seed, evangelism can be easy...
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a. You don’t have to wait for a congregational effort
b. Just start mailing or giving the first lesson to everyone you know, or to every person you would
like to provide an opportunity to learn about Jesus
2. For everyone who receives the first lesson...
a. The responsibility now rests on their shoulders
b. They will not be able to say “You never mentioned Him to me.”
Whether they complete the course and obey Christ, or reject the first lesson with not even a casual 
glance, we have fulfilled our responsibility.  That is “Evangelism Made Easy”...!
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Evangelism Made Personal
INTRODUCTION
1. The importance of sharing the gospel with others cannot be overemphasized...
a. Jesus wants everyone to hear the good news of salvation - Mk 16:15-16
b. He has provided the gospel as God's power to save all who believe - Ro 1:16-17
2. But what is the most effective way to reach people today?  The Institute For American Church
Growth asked over 10,000 people this question:  “What was responsible for your coming to
Christ and this church?” Their replies were:
a. I had a special need - 3%
b. I just walked in - 3%
c. I liked the minister - 6% 
d. I visited there - 1% 
e. I liked the Bible classes - 5% 
f. I attended a gospel meeting - 0.5% 
g. I liked the programs - 3% 
h. A friend or relative invited me - 79%
3. What can we learn from a survey like this...?
a. It confirms that gospel meetings as traditionally held have lost much of their effectiveness
b. It justifies churches’ concern to pick their preachers carefully and to give special regard to the
quality of their Bible classes
4. The obvious point of the survey is this:  If churches are to grow, it will be through the efforts of
individual members!
a. Preachers, programs, classes may help, but in most cases they will only maintain the size of the
congregation
b. Such congregational efforts are worthwhile, however, for they can reach people with whom  we
might otherwise never come in contact
-- But the fact remains: The greatest potential lies with people who have some contact with
members of the local congregation
5. Two things are needed to utilize contacts made through members of the congregation...
a. Concern for the lost by those members - cf. Mt 9:36-38; Ro 9:1-3; 10:1
b. Knowledge of how to increase opportunities to share the gospel
[Assuming the concern is there, this lesson contains three simple steps to increase opportunities for 
sharing the gospel with relatives, friends, neighbors, and others.  These steps are based on observations
of what has consistently proven fruitful in other places and are confirmed by the results of the 
aforementioned survey. The first step is to...]
I. CREATE A LOVING, EDIFYING CHURCH
A. WHY THIS IS IMPORTANT...
1. To confirm our claim to be disciples of Christ
a. Correct doctrine, organization, worship, etc., are certainly important
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b. Yet it is our love for one another that the Lord intended to convince the world that we
are truly His disciples! - cf. Jn 13:35
2. Our love makes us useful to the Lord 
a. From Re 3:7-8 we learn that the Lord knows the true condition of His churches, and
that He will “open doors” for those that can be useful to Him.
b. I am persuaded that if we are a church that can be used by Him to...
1) Reach others with the gospel 
2) Assimilate them into the family of God 
3) Nurture them in their spiritual growth 
...then He will "open doors" for us as well! 
c. Suppose we are not a place where new Christians can grow spiritually in an atmosphere
of love?
1) Do we seriously think that the Lord will use His providence to lead us to souls who
are seeking for the truth?
2) Even if we did reach souls for Christ, would they receive the spiritual nourishment
necessary to remain faithful and strong in the Lord's service?
3. Hospitality towards Christians prepares us for the kind of personal work that is the
most effective in leading others to Christ
a. I am referring to friendship evangelism, also known as relationship or lifestyle
evangelism
b. Which requires a willingness to be hospitable toward those we are trying to reach
c. If we are unable (or unwilling) to practice hospitality towards our brethren, what makes
us think we will practice it towards the lost?
-- If we are going to be fruitful in the long run, we must make sure that we provide the
right kind of loving and caring spiritual environment in the local church
B. SOME ACTION STEPS TO TAKE...
1. Get to know ALL the members and regular visitors by name
a. Get a church directory and begin to place names with faces 
b. Try to learn someone new at each service until you know them all
2. Practice hospitality towards the members and regular visitors - 1Pe 4:8-9
a. Invite them into your home, or out to eat (try one new family or member per month)
b. Visit other Christians each week (esp. the sick, shut-ins, new members, those absent)
3. Contribute your time, service, and resources to the church
a. Offer to help in whatever way you can (teach, give, serve)
b. Do not make others beg for help in providing a caring, spiritual environment
c. Make an effort to be at every service, on time
[When a congregation is filled with loving members who care for and edify its own, then I believe it is 
ready to be used by the Lord to reach out and care for others!  Where does one begin in trying to reach 
the lost? May I suggest that you...]
II. UTILIZE A PRAYER LIST
A. WHY THIS IS IMPORTANT...
1. It is a technique used by successful people in all walks of life (having a “things to do” list)
2. It helps focus our attention upon those we hope to reach, and not neglect them 
B. IN MAKING THE LIST...
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1. Start with those who are close to you and work outwardly: 
a. Family, friends
b. Neighbors, coworkers
c. Relatives of fellow church members 
d. Regular visitors to the services of the church 
e. Casual acquaintances (mailman, store clerk, etc.) 
2. Limit this list to five or eight (too many and you will be unable to focus your efforts)
3. Give priority to those who are the “unchurched”
a. I.e., who are not active members of any denomination or particular religion
b. Active members of a denomination or religion are often very satisfied with their human
traditions and are not as receptive to the pure and simple gospel of Christ
4. Husbands and wives should probably have one list (as the suggestions to follow will
require their joint cooperation)
5. Keep this list where you will see it daily
C. PRAY FOR THOSE ON YOUR LIST DAILY...
1. The importance of such prayers
a. It is God who gives the increase when it comes to evangelism - 1 Co 3:6-7
b. We are but servants whom God can use in His providential workings - 1 Co 3:5
c. So though we may work as though it all depends upon us, let us pray as though it all
depends upon God!
2. What you should pray for:
a. That God will work together with you:
1) To give you opportunities to do good for them - Co 4:3
2) To give you the wisdom to make the most of those opportunities - Co 4:4-6
3) To give you boldness to say what needs to be said - Ep 6:18-20
b. That those on your list will have:
1) Have the opportunity to hear the truth 
2) Have honest hearts to be open and receptive to the truth
[The third step is...]
III.INVITE THEM TO SERVICES
A. WHY THIS IS IMPORTANT...
1. In the past, I might not have thought this to be important, but I now think differently
2. Reasons for wanting people to attend church services:
a. They will (should) have an opportunity to see a caring congregation in action
1) Combined with your own demonstration of love as an individual...
2) ...the demonstration of love by others should make a lasting impression!
b. They will more likely have an opportunity to be presented with the gospel (more on
this, shortly)
c. If they are attending regularly before conversion to Christ, they will more likely
continue to attend after conversion
B. IN INVITING PEOPLE TO SERVICES...
1. First spend time in prayer:
a. Asking for wisdom to invite them in the best manner
b. Asking for boldness to offer the invitation to attend
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2. People will more likely accept your invitations:
a. If they are among the unchurched
b. If they are dissatisfied with where they are attending and are willing to investigate a
different church
c. If you have already been hospitable to them in various ways
3. Be persistent:
a. Invite time and again
b. Your perseverance will more likely be rewarded
C. BE HOSPITABLE TO VISITORS...
1. Why this is important:
a. By their presence, people are expressing an interest and/or willingness to learn
b. By your love and acceptance, you are preparing the soil of their hearts for the seed of
the gospel
c. The Lord has provided “an open door”; dare we not take it?
2. How to show hospitality toward visitors:
a. Be friendly to all, whether invited by you, someone else, or are simply walk-ins
b. Arrive early for services
1) Visitors are more likely to arrive early, and leave early
2) If you come in late, you may not have an opportunity to visit
c. Give priority to visiting with guests over visiting with brethren
1) You can always visit with brethren later
2) This may the only opportunity to make an impact with the visitors
d. In extending hospitality, do what is within your ability:
1) Greet them, letting them know they are welcome
2) Invite them home or out for a dinner or snack 
3) Call, write, or visit them after they have attended the services 
D. MAKE SURE THEY ARE EXPOSED TO THE GOSPEL...
1. Why this is important:
a. Only the Gospel is God's power to save - Ro 1:16
b. While love and hospitality may help prepare the soil, the seed must still be sown
2. Presenting the gospel of Christ:
a. Ideally, this will come after witnessing a demonstration of the gospel in our lives
1) By our love, hospitality, etc.
2) Both as individuals and as a congregation
b. If you feel confident in discussing it with them, then approach them yourself and suggest
some sort of Bible study.  I have found either of the two suggestions effective:
1) A Bible study with them in their home (using aids like video tapes, charts, or simply
an open Bible)
2) That they study on their own:
a) With the aid of a Bible correspondence course
b) By viewing a video Bible study series
c. If you do not feel you are yet confident in approaching them concerning a study, or in 
conducting it your self, there is still much good that you can do:
1) Bring it to the attention of members who are able and willing to teach
2) Provide opportunities for teacher and prospect to become better acquainted, and
the teacher can take it from there
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CONCLUSION
1. These suggestions are offered...
a. With a firm conviction that if they will be carried out, opportunities to share the gospel and
save souls will be greatly increased!
b. With the hope that you will accept the challenge to implement these suggestions
2. This approach is not only the most successful in saving and keeping souls, it is also one of the
most natural and easiest ways to reach the lost for Christ...
a. Remember the survey by The Institute For American Church Growth?
b. One does not even have to be able to teach to be effective in leading others to Christ!
c. One simply has to be a friend to Christians and to the lost!
3. Even if we do not convert a single soul... 
a. We will have fulfilled our obligation to share Christ with others
b. We will have done it in such a way as to become:
1) Better Christians, a better congregation
2) Better friends, better neighbors, better coworkers!
Are you doing what you can to reach out to the lost...?
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Examples Worth Following
INTRODUCTION
1. The Bible speaks of examples...
a. Imitating those who are good examples - cf. 1 Co 11:1; Ph 3:17; He 13:7
b. Being a good example to others - cf. 1 Ti 4:12
2. Such scriptures should cause one to wonder...
a. Who is my example, my role model as a Christian?
b. Whose example am I as a Christian?
c. What kind of example do I set as a Christian?
[In this study, “Examples Worth Following”, let’s consider these questions more carefully...]
I. WHO IS YOUR EXAMPLE?
A. IS IT THE LORD JESUS CHRIST...?
1. He was for the apostle Paul - 1 Co 11:1
2. He should be our example as well
a. On how to please one another - Ro 15:1-3
b. On how to love one another - Ep 5:1-2
c. On how to look out for one another - Ph 2:4-5
d. On how to suffer patiently when mistreated - 1Pe 2:20-23
-- Jesus certainly serves as our prime example
B. IS IT THE APOSTLE PAUL...?
1. As he urged the Corinthians - 1 Co 4:6; 11:1
a. To give no offense - 1 Co 10:32
b. To seek the benefit of others - 1 Co 10:33
2. As he urged the Philippians - Ph 3:17
a. To not consider themselves as having attained perfection - Ph 3:12a
b. To press on to maturity - Ph 3:12b-15
c. To live according to the level they have learned - Ph 3:16
d. To enjoy a close relationship with the God of peace - Ph 4:9
3. As he praised and encouraged the Thessalonians
a. For receiving the Word despite affliction - 1 Th 1:6
b. To avoid being a burden to others - 2 Th 3:7-10
-- Paul and other New Testament Christians provide wonderful examples
C. IS IT OTHER FAITHFUL CHRISTIANS...?
1. As Paul exhorted the Philippians - Ph 3:17
a. To note those walking like Paul
b. To consider them a pattern to follow
2. As exhorted by the writer to the Hebrews
a. To imitate the faith and patience of those who inherit the promises - He 6:12
b. To follow the faith of those who rule over us - He 13:7
-- Many Christians today provide examples worthy of emulation
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[Whose example are you following?  You are imitating either Christ or some other Christian (either 
living or dead).  Does your life suggest that the example you are following is less than exemplary (e.g., 
the Laodiceans - Re 3:14-16)?  Closely related to this is another question...]
II. WHOSE EXAMPLE ARE YOU?
A. IS IT NOT OTHER CHRISTIANS...?
1. Your brothers and sisters in the Lord?
2. Especially those who are babes in Christ?
3. But even older Christians?
-- Christians should be mindful of their example on one another - cf. 1 Th 1:7; 1 Ti
4:12; Ti 2:7
B. IS IT NOT YOUNG CHILDREN...?
1. Who naturally look up to their parents?
2. Who are also influenced by others?
a. Adults like their parents
b. Older children as well
-- Christians should be mindful of their example upon the young - cf. Mt 18:6
C. IS IT NOT UNBELIEVERS...?
1. Who see if we “walk the talk”?
2. Who often gauge the value of following Christ by our example?
3. Who judge the church by its members?
-- Christians should be mindful of their example seen by the world - cf. 1Pe 2:12
[Whether we want to be or not, we are examples to others, especially the young in years and young in 
faith.  So let me ask...]  
III.WHAT KIND OF EXAMPLE ARE YOU?
A. IS IT INDICATIVE OF A FAITHFUL CHRISTIAN...?
1. Showing the world what it means to be a Christian?
2. Showing babes in Christ what maturity means as a disciple?
-- Is your example helping or hindering discipleship in others?
B. IS IT CONDUCIVE TO CHURCH GROWTH...?
1. Offering a noble pattern of faithful church attendance?
2. Setting a good example of developing one's abilities for Christ?
3. Providing a worthy model of involvement in service to the Lord and His Church?
-- Is your example helping or hindering the progress of the church?
C. IS IT WORTHY OF EMULATION...?
1. Would you want a child or new Christian to follow your example?
2. If every member provided the same example as you...
a. Would the church be strong?
b. Would the church be growing?
c. Would the church have service on Sunday and Wednesday nights?
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d. Would the church even exist?
-- Is your example helping or hindering the cause of Christ?
CONCLUSION
1. I hope this questions have prompted serious introspection on your part...
a. As to who is your example or role model as a Christian
b. As to the sort of example or role model you are setting for others
2. Though written to a young preacher, I encourage you to apply Paul’s words to yourself...
a. Be an example to the believers - 1 Ti 4:12a
b. Be an example in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity - 1 Ti 4:12b
You cannot escape being an example to others.  Your only choice is what kind of example you will be. 
Will you be one of the many “Examples Worth Following”...?
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Faith In The Community
INTRODUCTION
1. As Christians, we are but pilgrims and sojourners in this world...
a. We have duties regarding our spiritual growth and development - 1Pe 2:11
b. Yet we also have a duty toward those who are still of this world - 1Pe 2:12
2. One arena where we fulfill our duty to those in the world is “the community”...
a. The cities and neighborhoods in which we live
b. Relationships we maintain with our neighbors and fellow citizens
3. What impact should our faith have as members of the community...?
a. What effect should it have on us as neighbors and citizens?
b. How can our communities become a place to evangelize the lost?
4. In 1 Th 4:11-12, Paul gave general instructions concerning Christians living in this world...
a. To lead a quiet life c. To work with our own hands
b. To mind our own business d. To walk properly toward those who are outside
[What this entails may be gleaned further as we consider passages which speak of Christians as 
neighbors and citizens.  So let us start by looking at...]
I. THE CHRISTIAN AS NEIGHBOR
A. TO ASSOCIATE WITH OTHERS...
1. True, we are to be separate - cf. 2 Co 6:14-18
2. But we must not confuse separation with isolation - cf. 1 Co 5:9-13
3. Jesus provides the example - cf. Mk 2:14-17
B. TO LIVE IN PEACE...
1. As much as it depends on us - cf. Ro 12:17-21
2. Careful to give no offense if possible - cf. 1 Co 10:32-33
C. TO WALK IN LOVE AND WISDOM...
1. We owe it to our neighbors to love them - cf. Ro 13:8-10
2. Showing kindness through hospitality (love of strangers) - cf. Ro 12:13; 1 Ti 3:2; 5:10
3. Making good use of our time - cf. Co 4:5
4. Speaking with truth and grace - cf. Co 4:6; Ep 4:25,29
D. TO DO GOOD...
1. Diligent in doing good works - cf. Mt 5:16; Lk 6:35;  Ga 6:10; 1 Th 5:15; 1 Ti 6:17-
18; Ti 3:8 1Pe 2:12
2. Displaying honorable conduct - cf. 1Pe 2:12; 2 Co 8:21
3. Earning a good testimony from those outside - cf. 1 Ti 3:7; Ac 22:12
[In Ti 3:1-2, Paul sums up what is our duty as neighbors.  He also touches on what is our duty as 
citizens, upon which we will now elaborate...]
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II. THE CHRISTIAN AS CITIZEN
A. OBEY THOSE IN AUTHORITY...
1. To be subject to rulers authorities - cf. Ti 3:1; Ro 13:1-5
2. To obey their laws, unless they conflict with God’s law - cf. 1Pe 2:13-16; Ac 5:27-29
B. GIVE HONOR AND PAY TAXES...
1. Honor all, including those in government - cf. 1Pe 2:17
2. Pay taxes and customs, rendering fear (respect) and honor - cf. Ro 13:6-7
C. PRAY FOR THOSE IN AUTHORITY...
1. For kings and all who are in authority - cf. 1 Ti 2:1-2
2. That we might lead quiet and peaceable lives in all godliness and reverence - cf. 1 Ti 2:2-3
[Christians are a valuable asset for any country in which they live.  Not only by their lawful obedience 
and prayers for those in authority, but by sharing the good news of God’s love (cf. 1 Ti 2:4-6)...]
III.THE CHRISTIAN AS EVANGELIST
A. HOLDING FAST THE WORD OF LIFE...
1. We are to shine as lights in the world - cf. Ph 2:14-15
2. Holding fast the Word of life - cf. Ph 2:16
a. Some translations say “holding forth” (KJV, ASV) or “hold out” (NIV)
b. Certainly a duty expressed elsewhere - cf. Mk 16:15; 1Pe 2:9
3. In our communities, we have a duty to spread the Word!
B. INFLUENCING PEOPLE BY EXAMPLE...
1. Sometimes people won’t listen to our message
2. But we can still influence them for good by our example - e.g., 1Pe 3:1-2
3. In our communities, we have a duty to confirm the Word by our lives!
CONCLUSION
1. Living in our community is a wonderful opportunity...
a. To be a positive influence on our friends and neighbors
b. To be a blessing for whatever country in which we find ourselves
2. Let your faith in the community be an opportunity...
a. To demonstrate the value of a vibrant faith in Christ!
b. To reach others for Jesus Christ through the gospel!
What kind of neighbors and citizens are we?  Do we encourage others to glorify God...?
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Faith In The Family
INTRODUCTION
1. As Christians, we are privileged to be members of God’s family...
a. With God as our Father in heaven
b. With Christ as our Elder Brother
c. With many fathers and mothers, sons and daughters, brothers and sisters - cf. Mk 10:29-30
2. Even so, we also have duties as members of our human families...
a. As husbands and wives
b. As parents and children
c. As married and single
[What impact should our faith as Christians have on our physical families?  What are our responsibilities 
as Christians who are blessed with familial relationships?  Consider first...]
I. THE CHRISTIAN AS HUSBAND AND FATHER
A. DUTIES OF THE HUSBAND...
1. Husbands are to love their wives - Ep 5:25-29
a. As Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her
b. As their own bodies, nourishing and cherishing them
2. Husbands are to leave mother and father - Ep 5:31
a. Leaving parents to be joined to one’s wife
b. The husband therefore gives his wife priority over his parents
3. Husbands are not to be bitter toward their wives - Co 3:19
a. “do not be harsh with them” (ESV)
b. “never treat them harshly” (NRSV)
4. Husbands are to be understanding and give honor to their wives - 1Pe 3:7
a. Understanding their delicate nature
b. Honoring them as heirs together of the grace of life
B. DUTIES OF THE FATHER...
1. To provide the necessities of life - 2 Co 12:14;1 Ti 5:8
a. Parents ought to provide for their children
b. A man who fails to do so is worse than an infidel
2. Not to provoke the children to wrath - Ep 6:4; Co 3:21
a. That is, by unreasonable commands; by needless severity; by the manifestation of anger
- Barnes
b. Lest, by your continually finding fault with them, they should lose all courage, and
despair of ever pleasing you - ibid.
3. To provide for spiritual training of the children - Ep 6:4
a. Bringing them up in the training (discipline, ESV) of the Lord
b. Bringing them up in the admonition (instruction, ESV) of the Lord
4. To provide loving discipline as necessary - He 12:6-11; Pro 13:24
a. Even as our Heavenly Father disciplines His children
b. Though it may be unpleasant at the moment
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[Such are familial responsibilities of Christian men as husbands and fathers.  Now let’s consider...]
II. THE CHRISTIAN AS WIFE AND MOTHER
A. DUTIES OF THE WIFE...
1. Wives are to submit to their husbands - Ep 5:22-24; Co 3:18; 1Pe 3:1-2
a. As to the Lord, as is fitting in the Lord
b. In everything, as the church is subject to Christ
2. Wives are to respect and love their husbands - Ep 5:33; Ti 2:4
a. Not just to submit, but to do so with respect and love for their husbands
b. Which older women should teach the younger women
B. DUTIES OF THE MOTHER...
1. To love their children - Ti 2:4
a. Which ought to be natural
b. Yet sin can lead to a lack of proper affection - cf. Ro 1:31
2. To manage the household - Ti 2:5; 1 Ti 5:14
a. The primary responsibility of the wife and mother
b. Though a woman may also engage in activities outside the home - cf. Pro 31:10-31
3. To provide spiritual training when male leadership is lacking - 2 Ti 1:5; cf. Ac 16:1
a. Timothy’s mother and grandmother were believers
b. Evidently his father was not, which is too often the case today
[Such are the duties of Christian women as wives and mothers.  Next let’s take a look at...]
III.THE CHRISTIAN AS CHILD AND SINGLE
A. DUTIES OF CHILDREN...
1. To obey their parents - Ep 6:1; Co 3:20
a. In the Lord, for this is right
b. In all things, for this is well pleasing to the Lord
2. To honor their parents - Ep 6:2-3
a. The first commandment with promise - cf. Exo 20:12
b. By providing for their welfare in later years - cf. 1 Ti 5:4,8,16
B. DUTIES OF THE SINGLE CHRISTIAN...
1. To utilize the advantage of being single - 1 Co 7:32-35
a. Use your freedom to increase your service to God
b. Don’t be selfish with the extra time and freedom you have
c. Don’t begrudge others who may not do as much as you because of their other
responsibilities (e.g., children, spouse)
2. To watch out for the dangers of being single - cf. Ec 4:9-11
a. Temptation - make an effort to develop a close relationship with the Lord
b. Loneliness - accept invitations to be with others, initiate opportunities to be with others
c. Self-centeredness - offer yourself in service to others; be flexible
3. To remember that you are in the family of God - Mk 10:29-30
a. You have many mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, children
b. Make the effort to develop and utilize these relationships
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[Finally, some remarks regarding discipleship as it relates to our familial relationships...]
IV.THE CHRISTIAN AS DISCIPLE
A. PUTTING THE LORD BEFORE THE FAMILY...
1. Of course, we are to love our parents, spouses and children
2. Yet our love for the Lord must come first - Mt 10:34-37; 12:46-50
a. Otherwise we are not worthy to be called His disciple
b. Only then will Jesus view us as members of His family
3. By putting God and His kingdom first, our families will benefit more - cf. Mt 6:33
a. God’s providence will help provide for our families’ needs
b. We will also be better parents, spouses and children by following Jesus
B. PRESENTING THE LORD TO THE FAMILY...
1. By way of example - cf. 1Pe 3:1-2
a. So wives were to influence their unbelieving husbands
b. So we can influence other unbelieving members of the family
2. By way of instruction - cf. Ep 6:4
a. So fathers were to instruct their children
b. So we can teach other members of the family
CONCLUSION
1. The nuclear family is a wonderful blessing, intended by God to consist of...
a. Husbands and wives who love and respect one another
b. Parents who love and discipline their children
c. Children who honor and obey their parents
2. As Christians, our familial duties are clear...
a. Whether as husbands or wives
b. Whether as parents or children
c. Whether as married or single
May our faith in Christ lead us to be the best spouses and parents, the best children and singles, we can 
possibly be...
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Faith In The Workplace
INTRODUCTION
1. As Christians, we are but pilgrims and sojourners in this world...
a. We have duties regarding our spiritual growth and development - 1Pe 2:11
b. Yet we also have a duty toward those who are still of this world - 1Pe 2:12
2. One arena where we fulfill our duty to those in the world is “the workplace”...
a. Places of employment where we work
b. Relationships we maintain with those with whom we work
3. What impact should our faith have as members of the workforce...?
a. What effect should it have on us as laborers or managers?
b. Should the workplace become a place to evangelize the lost?
4. In 1 Th 4:11-12, Paul gave general instructions concerning Christians living in this world...
a. To lead a quiet life
b. To mind our own business
c. To work with our own hands
d. To walk properly toward those who are outside
[What this entails may be gleaned further as we consider passages which speak of Christians as laborers 
and managers.  So let us start by looking at...]
I. THE CHRISTIAN AS LABORER
A. SCRIPTURAL PASSAGES FOR LABORERS...
1. From the epistles of Paul - Ep 6:5-8; Co 3:22-25; 1 Ti 6:1-3; Ti 2:9-10
2. From the epistle of Peter - 1Pe 2:18-20
-- Instructions to servants can be easily applied by Christian laborers today
B. SCRIPTURAL GUIDELINES FOR LABORERS....
1. Obey those who are over you (unless they ask you to do that which is unethical or illegal)
2. Work with proper respect and good will toward your boss
3. Labor sincerely and heartily, as to the Lord and not to men
4. Do not work only when the boss is watching, or just to please those over you
5. Demonstrate that you can be trusted with responsibility
6. Offer such service, not just to good employers, but even to those who are unfair
-- In so doing, you are adorning the doctrine of God our Savior!
[Additional counsel for laborers can be found from the wisdom of Solomon (e.g., Pro 12:24; 22:29).  
Those who follow such guidelines will not only please the Lord, but likely be very successful in their 
work!  Now let’s consider...]
II. THE CHRISTIAN AS MANAGER
A. SCRIPTURAL PASSAGES FOR MANAGERS...
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1. From the epistles of Paul - Ep 6:9; Co 4:1
2. From the Old Testament - Deu 24:14-15; Pro 22:16; Jer 22:13-17; Mal 3:5
-- From both Testaments there are principles to guide the Christian manager
B. SCRIPTURAL GUIDELINES FOR MANAGERS....
1. Remember that you have a Boss in heaven!
2. Treat employees with justice and fairness
3. Do not oppress or exploit those who are under you
4. Don’t resort to threatening (seek positive motivation instead)
-- Applying the golden rule (Mt 7:12) will go a long way to managing properly
[Managers who so govern will likely be highly esteemed, both by those they manage and those under 
whom they serve.  Yet as Christians, our goal is not just to provide honorable service, but to encourage 
people to glorify God (cf. 1Pe 2:12).  This raises the issue of evangelism in the workplace...]
III.THE CHRISTIAN AS EVANGELIST
A. CONCERNS TO CONSIDER...
1. As Christians, we are to seek and save the lost - Mk 16:15-16
2. As workers, honorable service demands a proper day’s work for a day’s wage
3. Adorning the doctrine of Christ requires that we not pilfer (including time) - Ti 2:10
-- The challenge is to properly balance our efforts to save and our duty to work
B. GUIDELINES TO GOVERN...
1. Don’t forget the power of a good example - 1Pe 2:12; 3:1-2
2. Don’t let your speech betray your profession as a Christian - cf. Ep 4:29; 5:4; Co 4:6
3. Wisely consider the best use of one’s time on the job - cf. Co 4:5
a. Circumstances at work are rarely conducive to substantive spiritual discussions
b. Seek to turn casual conversations related to spiritual subjects into opportunities for
home Bible studies
-- Spiritual zeal is no excuse for cheating those who have hired us
CONCLUSION
1. Involvement in the workplace is a wonderful opportunity...
a. To be able to provide for one’s self and family
b. To be able to serve the Lord through making a positive impact on others
2. Let your faith in the workplace be an opportunity...
a. To demonstrate the value of a vibrant faith in Christ!
b. To reach others for Jesus Christ!
What kind of laborers and managers are we?  Do we encourage others to glorify God...?
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Follow-up: Definition & Importance
INTRODUCTION
1. In the Great Commission, Jesus did not simply tell His apostles to baptize... - cf. Mt 28:19-20
a. He said “teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you”
b. He wanted them to ‘follow-up’ those who were baptized 
2. Too often, once people are baptized they are left to simply drift...
a. In many cases, drifting back into the world
b. Or they drift into a state of apathy regarding their devotion and service to the Lord
3. This greatly hinders the growth of the Lord’s church...
a. Not only are the souls who drift or become apathetic in danger of falling away
b. Think of the potential souls they could have brought to the Lord if they had been faithful!
[Proper ‘follow-up’ should be of primary importance to any congregation.  But exactly what is meant by 
this meant by the term ‘follow-up’...?]
I. DEFINITION OF FOLLOW-UP
A. THE WORK OF GROUNDING A NEW BELIEVER...
1. Such was the goal of Paul’s labors - Co 1:28-29
2. Therefore it was an important part of his ministry - Ac 14:21-22
B. INVOLVING SEVERAL AREAS OF SPIRITUAL GROWTH...
1. Having the assurance of salvation and acceptance with God - 1 Jn 5:13; 2:3
2. Developing a consistent devotional life - 1Pe 2:2; Co 4:2
3. Understanding the basics of abundant Christian living - Co 3:12-17; 2Pe 1:5-11
4. Integrating into the family life of the local church - He 10:24-25
5. Grounded in the basics of Bible doctrine - He 5:12; 6:1-3
6. Involved in sharing the gospel with others - 1Pe 2:9-10
C. UTILIZING A THREEFOLD APPROACH...
1. Group follow-up:  nurturing the believer through the local church - He 10:25
2. Personal study:  activities in which the new Christian engages on his own - 1 Ti 4:13-16
3. Personal follow-up: one-to-one relationship with a mature believer to aid and inspire
the new Christian’s growth - e.g., Barnabas and Mark, Paul and Timothy
a. This work is best done by members serving as mentors and role models
b. It should also be done with discretion (e.g., women following up with women)
[With this understanding of ‘follow-up’, consider some reasons regarding the...]
II. IMPORTANCE OF FOLLOW-UP
A. VULNERABILITY OF A NEW CHRISTIAN...
1. Satan seeks to destroy those in the faith - 1Pe 5:8-9
2. A Christian is most vulnerable when they are not grounded in the faith - Lk 8:13
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-- Weak Christians need to be assisted by older, mature Christians - Ga 6:1-2
B. POTENTIAL FOR CHANGE IN A NEW CHRISTIAN...
1. A new convert has just expressed godly sorrow and repentance - 2 Co 7:10
2. The desire to change and do what is right is at a peak - e.g., Ac 16:15
3. Given proper direction at this time, much progress can be accomplished - 2 Co 7:11
4. Yet if the desire to change is not cultivated, discouragement and apathy can develop
-- Thus the need to encourage the transformation process for the new Christian
C. EFFECTIVE IN PRODUCING SPIRITUAL MULTIPLICATION...
1. Growth in the early church was described as multiplying - Ac 6:7; 9:31; 12:24
2. Contrast ‘spiritual multiplication' with ‘spiritual addition’
a. Spiritual addition - involves leading people to Christ, but that is all
b. Spiritual multiplication - involves leading people to Christ, then developing them until
they are leading others to Christ
3. ‘Spiritual multiplication’ involves four stages:
a. Evangelizing - teaching others the gospel of Christ - Mt 28:19
b. Follow-up - teaching them to observe all that Christ commanded - Mt 28:20
c. Reproducing - when they in turn begin to teach others - cf. 2 Ti 2:2
d. Multiplying - what finally occurs when those taught in turn follow-up and make
disciples who then teach others
-- Without ‘follow-up’, spiritual multiplication does not happen!
D. SEEN WHEN ONE GRASPS ‘THE VISION OF MULTIPLICATION’....
1. Suppose you develop just one truly ‘multiplying Christian’ each year...
a. Not an unreasonable goal
b. For some that may not seem like much
2. If each year those ‘multiplying Christian’ developed one more ‘multiplying Christian’... 
a. In two years there would be 4
b. In five years there would be 32
c. In ten years there would be 1,024
d. In twenty years there would be 1,048,576
e. In thirty-three years there would be 8,589,934,592
3. If  you simply baptized 1,000 a year, in thirty-three years there only would be 33,000
-- Not all become ‘multiplying Christians’; the reason many don’t is lack of follow-up!
CONCLUSION
1. If we want the Lord’s church to grow, then we need to provide follow-up for new Christians
2. Proper follow-up involves both a congregational and individual effort (especially the latter)
Please give prayerful consideration as to what you can do to provide ‘follow-up’ for new Christians...
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Follow-up: Factors Affecting Follow-up
INTRODUCTION
1. In a study on “Follow-up: Definition & Importance”, personal follow-up was part of an overall
effort to ground new believers in Christ...
b. Seeking to encourage engagement in this area of service in the Lord’s work
a. For there is great joy when we engage in such work - 3 Jn 4
2. There are several factors that will affect any effort in personal follow-up...
a. Understanding these factors will help one know more about what is involved in such efforts
b. It may also help us understand why so few people ever engage in it
[For example, one factor affecting personal follow-up is...]
I. OUR OWN RELATIONSHIP WITH THE LORD
A. FOLLOW-UP INVOLVES THE IDEA OF “LIFE TRANSFERENCE”...
1. Life transference - the transferring of things in your life to the life of the new Christian
2. In other words, the sharing of a lifestyle with the new believer
3. Such as Paul did with the Thessalonians - 1 Th 2:8
B. OUR WALK WITH THE LORD MUST BE WORTHY OF IMITATION...
1. Otherwise, the new believer is not likely to take us seriously
2. Consider the example of Paul
a. In his conduct with the Thessalonians - 1 Th 2:10
b. So he write as he did to the Philippians - Ph 4:9
3. We should not view Paul as an exception; all mature Christians are to worthy of imitation
- cf. Ph 3:17
C. THIS MAY EXPLAIN WHY MANY ARE NOT INVOLVED IN FOLLOW-UP...
1. Perhaps knowing they are not good role models or mentors for “life transference”
2. If such is the case with us...
a. Then we better get busy growing spiritually
b. If we are not able to help save others, we will unlikely save ourselves! - cf. 1 Ti 4:16
[Another factor affecting personal follow-up is...]
II. OUR WILLINGNESS TO MAKE A COMMITMENT
A. PERSONAL FOLLOW-UP IS TIME-CONSUMING...
1. The needs of a new believer are often similar to that of a baby (feeding, bonding, protecting)
2. When life’s busy schedule presses down, priorities will have to be made
3. Only the truly committed person will spend the time necessary to follow-up
4. Paul illustrates the kind of commitment needed - Ac 20:20,31; 1 Th 2:9-12
B. THIS MAY EXPLAIN WHY SO FEW ENGAGE IN FOLLOW-UP...
1. Commitment is a difficult concept for many people
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2. Lack of commitment is seen in many areas:  work, marriage, family, church
3. Many lack commitment to save themselves, let alone being of much use to save others!
C. ARE WE ABLE TO MAKE THE COMMITMENT...?
1. Do we believe in the importance of personal follow-up?
2. Are we willing to devote the time necessary to encourage new disciples?
3. Can we rethink our present activities and discontinue those which interfere?
[Even when we are convinced of the need, and are willing to make the commitment, we must be aware 
of other factors affecting personal follow-up, such as...]
III.OUR WILLINGNESS TO CONCENTRATE OUR EFFORTS
A. IT IS TEMPTING TO WORK WITH TOO MANY AT ONE TIME...
1. Because of what others may expect of us (“You should not be working with just a select
few.”)
2. Because of what may be our own vain glory (“Numbers impress brethren more than quality,
so I better work with many.”)
B. GOOD FOLLOW-UP REQUIRES CONCENTRATED FOCUS...
1. That can be obtained only by working with a few at a time
2. While multitudes followed Him, Jesus focused on his select disciples during His ministry
3. Paul told Timothy to work with ‘faithful’ men - 2 Ti 2:2
4. “A decision that our ministry will be intensive, rather than extensive, will change our whole
life. Quality begets quantity. It takes vision to train one man to reach the mass.” - Waylon
Moore
C. DO WE HAVE THE VISION TO FOCUS OUR EFFORTS...?
1. Certainly we should be open to encouraging all our brethren
2. But prime time and peak energy should be directed toward a select few until they are able
to follow-up on others as well
[Also important as a factor affecting personal follow-up is...]
IV.OUR WILLINGNESS TO GO THE DURATION
A. DEVELOPING DISCIPLES CAN BE A LENGTHY PROCESS...
1. The illustration of ‘spiritual multiplication’ in our previous study revealed that it takes
nearly six years for noticeable growth to occur
2. Even Jesus spent three years in developing His disciples
3. Paul was in relative obscurity for ten years before he began his missionary journeys
B. WILLINGNESS TO GO THE DURATION REQUIRES...
1. Vision - the same vision Jesus had - Mt 13:31-32; cf. Isa 60:22
2. Patience - willing to allow time for spiritual growth, and for spiritual multiplication to occur
C. COULD THIS EXPLAIN WHY SOME DO NOT PERSIST IN THIS WORK...?
1. We are a society motivated by “get rich quick” schemes, fed by “fast food” restaurants
2. We want salvation in four or five easy steps and at little cost
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3. We must be willing to endure like Jeremiah, who labored for fifty years with little to show
for his labors
[Indeed, the fruit of our labors in follow-up may sometimes not show up until after we are gone!  But 
with faith and vision, we will not grow weary (Ga 6:9).  A fifth factor affecting follow-up is...]
V. OUR WILLINGNESS TO TEACH AND TRAIN
A. TEACHING OF GOD’S WORD IS REQUIRED...
1. As Paul instructed Timothy - 2 Ti 2:2
2. Accompanied by our example (which we saw earlier in ‘life transference')
3. Yet it is the Word which ultimately produces spiritual growth and change - 1Pe 1:23; 2:2
B. THIS REQUIRES BEING A FAITHFUL STUDENT AS WELL..
1. As Paul instructed Timothy - 1 Ti 4:15-16
2. Not only for our own spiritual growth, but to set the example for others - 1 Ti 4:12
C. COULD THIS EXPLAIN THE LACK OF GROWTH IN SOME CONVERTS...?
1. What kind of students of God’s Word do they see in us?
2. Is our attendance in Bible study erratic?  Do we come unprepared to share?
3. Are we willing to take the time to study with them in person?
[Finally, another factor affecting follow-up pertains to...]
VI.OUR SPIRITUAL ENVIRONMENT
A. THE ROLE OF A SPIRITUAL ENVIRONMENT FOR A NEW CHRISTIAN...
1. It plays a large part in his or her spiritual growth
2. A lukewarm or cold church environment can be devastating to the growth of a new believer
3. It can hinder or hurt the efforts of the faithful few trying to nurture new Christians
B. EFFECTIVE FOLLOW-UP MAY FIRST REQUIRE CLEANUP...
1. Working first with those who poor examples will only undermine future efforts 
2. Spending time and effort to ensure the local congregation will be a safe haven for new
Christians
C. COULD THIS EXPLAIN THE LACK OF GROWTH IN SOME CONVERTS...?
1. A faithful few may be trying to follow-up with new Christians or new members
b. But are their efforts impacted negatively by the poor examples being set by others?
CONCLUSION
1. The work of personal follow-up is no easy task...
a. Which may explain it is so greatly neglected
b. Which is why Christians are so desperately need to accept the challenge
2. For those willing to accept the task of personal follow-up...
a. They will help the church ‘multiply’ - Ac 9:31
b. They will experience ‘no greater joy’ - 3 Jn 4
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And they will become imitators of the household of Stephanas:  “they have devoted themselves to the 
ministry of the saints” (1 Co 16:15).  What a wonderful compliment...!
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Getting Ready To Grow
INTRODUCTION
1. Not all churches are prepared to grow in number and in spirit...
a. Consider the church at Laodicea - Re 3:15-19
b. Even if a successful evangelist had come and converted many, how many would have remained
faithful in a spiritual environment such as that?
2. For churches to grow, they must look beyond their evangelistic efforts...
a. For the mortality rate of new converts is often high
b. Unless a congregation is prepared to assimilate and nurture new converts, any success in
evangelism may be short-lived
3. To have real, enduring growth, we must get ready to grow...!
a. Preparing ourselves as a congregation
b. Preparing ourselves as individual members of a congregation
[What is necessary in “Getting Ready To Grow”?  First, allow me to suggest...]
I. WHAT WE MUST DO AS A CONGREGATION
A. OFFER ASSEMBLIES THAT EDIFY...
1. The first exposure many have to the gospel is by visiting a local congregation
a. What do they see and hear?  Do they see love? - cf. Jn 13:34-35
b. Does it draw them closer to God? - cf. 1 Co 14:25b
c. Do our visitors experience courtesy, warmth, and interest in spiritual matters?
-- Not all churches provide the right environment conducive for worship and spiritual
growth - e.g., 1 Co 11:17; 14:26b
2. New converts often depend heavily upon the spiritual nourishment provided by the
assemblies, and rightly so - cf. He 10:24-25
a. Excited by their newfound faith, anxious to grow quickly, they attend all the services of
the church
b. What do they find?  Halfhearted services?  Sparsely attended by older members?
3. If we are serious about growing...
a. Those who lead us in our assemblies will take their tasks seriously
1) Coming prepared to serve their role
2) Doing so gladly and with enthusiasm
b. Every member will do what they can to make our assemblies edifying to all
1) Arriving early to welcome and visit with visitors, other members
2) Participating wholeheartedly in the singing, prayers, etc.
3) Staying around and visiting afterward
B. ASSIMILATE AND NURTURE NEW MEMBERS...
1. As valuable as our assemblies may be, they are not always adequate by themselves
a. New members may remain on the fringe
1) Left out of the family life of the congregation (activities members do together)
2) Remain on the fringe for long, and they may begin looking elsewhere
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b. Babes in Christ often require special attention and nurturing
1) New converts often bring with them many personal problems
2) They need the concern and care of interested, mature Christians - Ro 15:1-3
3) Otherwise they may soon wither away
[What does it take for a congregation to provide such things?  It begins with what we are willing to do 
individually, for a congregation is no stronger or ready to grow than its members are willing to be.  Let 
me therefore suggest...]
II. WHAT WE MUST DO AS INDIVIDUALS
A. STRENGTHEN OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD...
1. Why is this so important?
a. Others must see in us the blessings of walking with God - not simply the pride of
knowing about the Lord!
b. We cannot share what we do not have!
2. No matter how strong our relationship with God, we can always improve
a. Paul recognized this in his own life - Ph 3:12-15
b. Peter wrote that our spiritual growth must always be increasing - 2Pe 1:5-8
3. Therefore we must continue to add to our faith virtue, to virtue knowledge...
a. Much of this is accomplished through personal and daily devotions - Ps 1:1-3
b. But personal efforts must be accompanied by frequent assembling - He 10:24-25
B. STRENGTHEN OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH ONE ANOTHER...
1. Why is this important?
a. Our love and unity is a powerful witness for Christ - Jn 13:34-35; 17:20-21
b. A strong network of Christians is essential to assimilate and nurture new Christians
2. No matter how strong our relationship with one another, we can always improve
a. As Paul exhorted the Thessalonians - 1 Th 4:9-10
b. As Peter wrote to Christians in general - 1Pe 1:22
3. Therefore we must seek out opportunities to strengthen our bond in Christ...
a. Regular attendance is certainly a great help - He 10:24-25
b. And so is simple hospitality (both offered, and accepted) - 1Pe 4:8-9
C. DEVELOP RELATIONSHIPS WITH THE LOST...
1. Why is this important?
a. Light must shine in darkness to be of much value - Mt 5:14-16
b. If people are sick, those with the cure must be willing to be among them - cf. Mt 9:
10-13
c. The right example can prepare people to receive the Word - cf. 1Pe 3:1-2
d. Relationships with the lost can serve as the basis for continued relationships with
them after they are saved
2. Developing relationships with the lost is an ongoing process
a. If an effort to share the gospel is not well-received, we may need to move on - Mt 7:6
b. Just as Jesus could not stay in one place, we cannot limit our outreach to just a few
friends, relatives, and neighbors - cf. Lk 4:42-44
3. Therefore we must always be on the lookout for new relationships with the lost...
a. Simple hospitality will go a long way (both offered and accepted) - cf. Mt 9:9-13
1) Matthew extended hospitality to his friends soon after Jesus called him
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2) Jesus accepted the opportunity to eat and be with the lost
b. Inviting the lost to our assemblies can be very profitable
1) Giving them an opportunity to meet other Christians
2) With whom they may also develop relationships
CONCLUSION
1. To be useful to the Master, an individual must prepare himself - 2 Ti 2:21-22
2. The same is true regarding churches...
a. A congregation that has prepared itself will be used by the Lord
b. Just as the Lord was willing to provide an open door for the church in Philadelphia - Re 3:8
3. As we have seen, we must prepare ourselves both as a congregation, and as individuals...
a. But the onus rests mostly upon us as individuals
b. For a chain is no stronger than its weakest link
c. If we as individuals fail to do our part, any effort by the congregation as a whole is greatly
weakened, if not mortally wounded!
3. Do we really want to grow?  As with the physical body, the only alternative to growth is gradual
decay and death
Shall we be like the church at Laodicea, or the church at Philadelphia?  The answer may very well be 
found on whether we are “Getting Ready To Grow”!
Note:  The main idea and several thoughts from this lesson were taken from a lesson by Gary Henry.  
The URL for his web site containing many excellent articles and sermon outlines is:  
http://www.brasstacks.org
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God Hates Divorce!
INTRODUCTION
1. A troubling trend was revealed by a recent survey from The Barna Group...
a. Born again Christians are just as likely to divorce as are non-Christians.
b. Among married born again Christians, 35% have experienced a divorce. That figure is identical
to the outcome among married adults who are not born again: 35%.
c. Barna’s figures show that nearly one-quarter of the married born agains (23%) get divorced
two or more times.
-- cf. The Barna Group (http://www.barna.org)
2. The apparent reason?  Evidently many do not believe divorce can be sinful...
a. Although Bible scholars and teachers point out that Jesus taught that divorce was a sin unless
adultery was involved, few Americans buy that notion.
b. Only one out of every seven adults (15%) strongly agreed with the statement “when a couple
gets divorced without one of them having committed adultery, they are committing a sin.”
c. A majority of both Protestants (58%) and Catholics (69%) disagreed that divorce without
adultery involved the commission of sin.
-- ibid.
[A survey like this reveals the need for constant reminder of what God has spoken concerning divorce. 
God hates divorce, and the reasons why He has made that clear....]
I. AS REVEALED IN THE OLD TESTAMENT
A. IMPLIED BY MOSES...
1. Note carefully Deu 24:1-4
2. Moses forbid the first husband taking his wife back after she had remarried (even if her
second husband died)
3. The reason:  despite the bill of divorce from the first husband, marriage to the second
husband had ‘defiled’ her! - Deu 24:4
4. Notice these comments by Keil & Delitzsch..
a. “The second marriage of a woman who had been divorced is designated by
Moses a defilement of the woman...a moral defilement, i.e., blemishing,
desecration of the sexual communion which was sanctified by marriage, in the same
sense in which adultery is called a defilement in Lev 18:20 and Num 5:13,14...”
b. “Thus the second marriage of a divorced woman was placed implicit upon a par with
adultery, and some approach was made towards the teaching of Christ concerning
marriage (Mt 5:32)...”
-- In the words of Moses, we begin to see why God hates divorce:  it can lead to
moral defilement akin to adultery!
B. DECLARED THROUGH MALACHI...
1. Note carefully Mal 2:13-16
2. God did not receive the sacrifices of the priests because they had divorced their wives
3. God makes it clear that He hates divorce, and gives the reason why - Mal 2:16
4. God hates divorce because:
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a. It covers one’s garment with violence
b. It treats one’s spouse with treachery
-- In the words of God Himself, divorce is a violent and treacherous act; to which
many innocent spouses and the children of divorce can testify!
[Christians do well to seriously consider these words in the OT (cf. Ro 15:4; 2 Ti 3:16-17).  Even more 
so, they should pay careful heed to what God has said about divorce...]
II. AS REVEALED IN THE NEW TESTAMENT
A. IN THE TEACHINGS OF CHRIST...
1. Note carefully Mt 5:31-32
a. Many scribes and Pharisees taught that divorce was permissible for any reason, as long
as a certificate of divorce was granted
b. Jesus taught that divorce led to adultery, unless fornication was the cause of divorce
2. Note carefully Mt 19:3-9 (cf. Mk 10:11-12; Lk 16:18)
a. The Pharisees thought that divorce was permissible, as long as a certificate of divorce
was granted
b. Jesus first explained that Moses’ permitted divorce because of the hardness of their
hearts, but it was not God’s will from the beginning (of creation)
c. Jesus then provides the only ground for divorce without it leading to adultery:  if the
innocent spouse puts away his or her spouse for fornication - Mt 19:9
-- Jesus allows only one reason for divorce:  when a spouse is guilty of fornication!
B. IN THE EPISTLES OF PAUL...
1. Note carefully Ro 7:1-4
a. Here Paul is using what the Law taught on marriage for the purpose of illustration
b. Even the Law taught that a woman was bound to her husband for life
c. Even if she legally divorced her husband, she became an adulteress when she remarried
2. Note carefully 1 Co 7:10-16
a. Paul reminds them of what the Lord Himself taught - 1 Co 7:10-11
1) A wife is not to depart her husband; a husband is not to divorce his wife
2) If a wife leaves her husband, she must remain unmarried or be reconciled
b. Paul reveals more concerning marriages with unbelievers - 1 Co 7:12-16
1) Believers are not to divorce unbelieving spouses if they are willing to live with them
2) If unbelieving spouses depart, believers are not in bondage (to fulfill their marital
obligations, in my opinion)
-- Paul reinforced Jesus’ teaching on divorce, and permitted separation only when
initiated by an unbeliever!
CONCLUSION
1. From what we have briefly considered, the following can be gleaned...
a. God intends for marriage to be for life
b. God hates divorce, for it is a violent and treacherous act
c. He does not release the married from their marriage simply because they get a divorce
d. Unless divorce is for the grounds of fornication, any remarriage results in adultery!
-- And we do well to remember what is said about fornicators and adulterers - He 13:4
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2. What can be done to stem the tide of divorce?  It requires commitment to...
a. Obeying God’s Word concerning marriage and divorce - Mt 7:21; Lk 6:46
b. Loving the spouses of your youth - Ec 9:9; Pro 5:18
c. Applying commands concerning husbands and wives - Ep 5:22-33; Co 3:18-19; Ti 2:4
-- Otherwise, it will be fruitless to claim to be followers of God - cf. Ps 50:15-23
If we are guilty of causing adultery by divorcing, or are in an adulterous marriage, there is forgiveness 
for those who repent... - 1 Co 6:9-11 (though it may require celibacy, cf. Mt 19:10-12)
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God Loves Families!
INTRODUCTION
1. In another study we noted that God hates divorce (cf. “God Hates Divorce!”)...
a. For it covers one’s garment with violence - Mal 2:16a
b. For it treats one’s spouse with treachery - Mal 2:16b
2. How does God feel about families...?
a. Does He love families as strong as He hates divorce?
b. What ideal family is one that He loves to see?
[We can confidently affirm that God loves families!  How do we know this...?]
I. HOW WE KNOW GOD LOVES FAMILIES
A. GOD CREATED THE PHYSICAL FAMILY...
1. He instituted marriage between man and woman - Mt 19:4-6; Ro 7:2-3; Mt 19:9
a. Designing it to be for life
b. Allowing divorce only for the cause of fornication
2. He thus provided the ideal arrangement for children
a. In which they are to be born (from the union of two sexes who have become one)
b. In which they are to grow (benefiting from what both sexes have to offer)
3. His love for family extends to when families are broken
a. He is a father of the fatherless, a defender of widows - Ps 68:5
b. He relieves the fatherless and widow - Ps 146:9
c. He charges that families provide for their widows - 1 Ti 5:4
d. He describes such care as pure and undefiled religion - Jm 1:27
B. GOD CREATED A SPIRITUAL FAMILY...
1. He offers Himself as a loving Father - 1 Jn 3:1-2
2. He provides a wonderful Elder Brother for our salvation - He 2:9-13
3. He sent His Spirit so we could be born into this family - Ti 3:4-7; Ro 8:15-17
4. He revealed His Word so we can be born again - Jm 1:18; 1Pe 1:22-25
5. He designed the church to be an extended family with many mothers, fathers, brothers,
sisters - Mk 10:29-30; 1 Ti 3:15
[Indeed, God loves families!  The concept of family is important in both the physical and spiritual realm.  
Focusing our attention on the physical family, let’s review...]
II. THE IDEAL FAMILY THAT GOD LOVES
A. WHERE HUSBANDS TREAT THEIR WIVES...
1. With love and without bitterness, as Christ loved the church - Co 3:19; Ep 5:25-29
2. With understanding, honor, tenderness, and as fellow heirs - 1Pe 3:7
B. WHERE WIVES RESPOND TO THEIR HUSBANDS...
1. With love and obedience - Ti 2:4-5
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2. With submission, as the church is to submit to Christ - Co 3:18; Ep 5:22-24
C. WHERE FATHERS RAISE THEIR CHILDREN...
1. Without provoking them to wrath - Co 3:21; Ep 6:4a
2. In the nurture and admonition of the Lord - Ep 6:4b
3. With proper discipline when needed - Pro 13:24; 19:18; 29:17; He 12:7-10
D. WHERE MOTHERS RAISE THEIR CHILDREN...
1. With love - Ti 2:4
2. As homemakers, managers of the home - Ti 2:4; 1 Ti 5:14; cf. Pro 31:10-31
E. WHERE CHILDREN REACT TO THEIR PARENTS...
1. With obedience - Co 3:20; Ep 6:1
2. With honor - Ep 6:2-3; cf. Pro 31:28
F. WHERE ALL ARE DEDICATED TO SERVING HIM...
1. Having a genuine faith from one generation to another - cf. 2 Ti 1:5
2. With devotion to the Lord that surpasses even devotion to one another - Mt 10:37
CONCLUSION
1. No family is perfect, but God’s ideal for the physical family is worth striving for...
a. It is the best hope for strong marriages, for healthy and happy families, that last a lifetime
b. God-ordained marriages, and certainly children, deserve the very best we can give
2. If we find ourselves in a family broken beyond repair...
a. By death, divorce, or dysfunction beyond our control
b. Do not forget that God has a spiritual family designed for eternity
The best hope for strong, physical families is for everyone to become a child of God in His spiritual 
family.  Have you become a child of God by being born again of water and the Spirit...? - Jn 3:3-5; Mk 
16:16
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God’s Great Book
INTRODUCTION
1. When we contemplate the beauty and order of the creation...
a. We see the glory of God through His handiwork - Ps 19:1
b. We see evidence of His power and deity - Ro 1:20
-- Perhaps we are moved to agree with the song, “How Great Thou Art!”
2. While the creation reveals much about God, it tells us nothing about...
a. God’s great gift of love and mercy
b. God’s great people that He wants us to become
-- To learn of such things, we must look elsewhere
3. God has chosen to reveal this through His book, the Bible...
a. Is this book equal to the task?
b. You would expect a great God to give us a great book; has He?
-- Indeed He has!  By His Spirit, He inspired a book capable of accomplishing great
things!
[For example, let’s just start with one portion of the Bible...]
I. HOW GREAT IS THE OLD TESTAMENT!
A. IN THE DAYS OF DAVID...
1. A guide for true happiness - Ps 1:1-3
2. The virtues of God’s word praised
a. It converts the soul - Ps 19:7a
b. It makes wise the simple - Ps 19:7b
c. It rejoices the heart - Ps 19:8a
d. It enlightens the eyes - Ps 19:8b
e. It endures forever - Ps 19:9a
f. It is true and righteous altogether - Ps 19:9b
g. Making it more desirable than gold, sweeter than honey - Ps 19:10-11
3. The value of God’s word contemplated
a. Helps the young man cleanse his way - Ps 119:9
b. Guards the heart against sin - Ps 119:11
c. Makes one wiser than his enemies - Ps 119:97-98
d. Gives one more understanding than his teachers and the ancients - Ps 119:99-100
e. A lamp and a light to guide one’s way - Ps 119:105
e. Provides great peace to those who love it - Ps 119:165
-- This is the value of just a small portion of God’s Word, available during the days of
David (perhaps the books of Genesis to Ruth)
B. IN THE DAYS OF PAUL... 
1. A source of patience and comfort, imparting hope to the Christian - Ro 15:4
2. Serving as examples, written for our admonition - 1 Co 10:11
3. As with all Scripture inspired of God, profitable in many ways - 2 Ti 3:14-17
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a. Making one wise regarding salvation by faith in Christ
b. Useful for doctrine, reproof, correction, instruction in righteousness
c. Helping the man of God to become complete, equipped for every good work
-- Christians may not be under the Old Covenant, but it remains an importance
source for truth and happiness
[If such is true regarding the Old Testament, how much more so when we have the complete and final 
revelation from God!  In other words...]
II. HOW GREAT IS THE NEW TESTAMENT!
A. IT IS A LIVING WORD...
1. The Word of God is living and powerful - He 4:12a
2. The Word of God is piercing, discerning - He 4:12b
-- This is because it is the sword of the Spirit, the instrument by which He convicts the
world of sin, righteousness, and judgment! - cf. Jn 16:7-8; Ep 6:17
B. IT IS A LIFE-GIVING WORD...
1. The Word of God can save our souls - Jm 1:21
2. The Word of God can produce rebirth and spiritual growth - 1Pe 1:23-2:3
-- This is because of the power contained in the gospel of Christ - cf. Ro 1:16-17
C. IT IS A LIFE-GUIDING WORD...
1. Producing the faith necessary for our walk in life - 2 Co 5:7; Ro 10:17
2. Equipping the saint for every good work - 2 Ti 3:16-17
-- As Jesus quoted in response to Satan’s temptation:  “Man shall not live by bread
alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God." - Mt 4:4
[There should be no question that God’s book is great!  It fulfills our greatest need, and gives us our 
greatest hope.  But let us consider...]
III.HOW GREAT IS OUR RESPONSE?
A. IS OUR RESPONSE WORTHY...?
1. Many people (including Christians) are “Biblically illiterate”!
2. Like Israel of old, we suffer from a “famine for the Word” - cf. Amo 8:11-14
a. Israel’s famine was imposed by God by their exile
b. Our famine is self-imposed by our own neglect!
c. The effect is still the same!
1) Our young people faint from thirst!
2) They fall, and do not rise again!
3. For many, they feed upon an “unbalanced diet”!
a. E.g., reading only select passages, often ignoring the Old Testament
b. E.g., reading only to prove themselves right and others wrong
-- Is “God’s Great Book” worthy of such a tepid response?  No!
B. WHAT IS A WORTHY RESPONSE...?
1. We must properly value God’s Word
a. More valuable than gold and silver - Ps 119:72
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b. As precious as great treasure - Ps 119:162
-- Do we consider God’s Word of greater value than money?
2. We must diligently read God’s Word
a. With an attitude of longing - Ps 119:131; 1Pe 2:2
b. With an intention to obey - Jm 1:21-22
c. With a prayer on our lips and in our hearts - Ps 119:18,133
-- A consistent program of daily Bible reading in this spirit is a worthy response to
God’s great book!
CONCLUSION
1. Contemplating God’s creation produces the response:  How Great Thou Art!
a. God is a Being of great power
b. God is a Being of great intelligence
2. Contemplating God’s book produces a similar response:  How Great Thou Art!
a. God is a Being of great wisdom and understanding
b. God is a Being of great love and compassion
c. God is a Being of great justice and righteousness
3. I pray that our study has done at least two things...
a. Increased your appreciation for “God’s Great Book”
b. Stimulated your desire to be more diligent in your response to it
1) More diligent in your reading of it
2) More diligent in your obedience to it
“So now, brethren, I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able 
to build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified.” (Ac 
20:32)
Let “God’s Great Book” build you up, that you may receive that wonderful “inheritance incorruptible 
and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you.” (1Pe 1:4)!
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The Gospel According To Isaiah
INTRODUCTION
1. Undoubtedly you have heard of the four gospels...
a. The gospel according to Matthew
b. The gospel according to Mark
c. The gospel according to Luke
d. The gospel according to John
-- But have you heard of the gospel according to Isaiah?
2. Preaching the gospel of Christ, it was not uncommon for the apostles and others in the first century
to refer to the Old Testament...
a. It was Paul’s custom - Ac 17:2-3
b. Apollos did the same at Corinth - Ac 18:27-28
3. That was because elements of the gospel were foretold by Old Testament prophets...
a. Concerning the coming of the Messiah (Heb., Anointed One; Grk., Christ)
b. Concerning the establishment of His kingdom
4. One such prophet was Isaiah...
a. Who lived 750 years before Christ
b. Who was sent to prophesy to Judah and Jerusalem - Isa 1:1
5. Isaiah’s book contains so many prophecies regarding the Messiah and His kingdom...
a. He is often called “the Messianic prophet”
b. We could call his book “The Gospel According To Isaiah”
[To illustrate my point, let’s review some of the prophecies found in the book of Isaiah...]
I. THE GOSPEL OF THE MESSIAH
A. GOOD NEWS ABOUT THE MAN...
1. He will be born of a virgin
a. Whose name will be Immanuel (“God with us”) - Isa 7:14
b. Fulfilled with the birth of Jesus by Mary - cf. Mt 1:18-23
2. He will be a wonderful Child
a. With an amazing name(s), destined to reign - Isa 9:6-7
b. Announced by the angels at Jesus’ birth - cf. Lk 2:11
3. He will be of the family of David (Jesse)
a. Descending from the “stem of Jesse” (David’s father) - Isa 11:1
b. Jesus’ lineage shown in Mt 1 (via Joseph) and Lk 3 (via Mary)
4. The Spirit of the Lord will rest upon Him
a. With wisdom and understanding, counsel and might, knowledge and fear of the Lord 
- Isa 11:2
b. Visibly manifested at His baptism by John - cf. Mt 3:16
B. GOOD NEWS ABOUT HIS MINISTRY...
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1. He will be proceeded by a forerunner
a. One sent to prepare the way - Isa 40:3-5
b. Fulfilled with the ministry of John the Baptist - cf. Mt 3:1-3 
2. He will be anointed to preach good tidings
a. To the poor, proclaiming the acceptable year of the Lord - Isa 61:1-3
b. Fulfilled by His preaching in Nazareth - Lk 4:16-21
3. He will bring light to those living in Galilee
a. In the regions of Zebulun and Naphtali - Isa 9:1-2
b. Fulfilled by His living and preaching in Capernaum - cf. Mt 4:12-16
4. He will not advertise Himself
a. By quarreling or crying out in the streets - Isa 42:1-3
b. Fulfilled in Jesus’ response to threats on His life - cf. Mt 12:14-21
5. He will suffer in our behalf
a. Despised and rejected by men - Isa 53:1-3; cf. Jn 1:12
b. His suffering and death for our sins - Isa 53:4-6,8; cf. Mt 8:17; 1Pe 2:24
c. Silent before His accusers - Isa 53:7; cf. Mt 27:12-14
d. His grave with the wicked and the rich - Isa 53:9; cf. Mt 27:38,57-60
e. All according to God’s will, for our sins - Isa 53:10-12; cf. Ac 2:23; 1 Ti 2:5-6
[Through such vivid prophecies, Isaiah foretold the gospel of the Messiah.  Note how Philip was able to 
make good use of Isaiah’s “gospel” in preaching Christ (cf. Ac 8:30-38).
But Isaiah’s prophecies were not limited to the Messiah Himself.  Just as Jesus proclaimed the gospel of 
the kingdom (cf. Mk 1:14-15), so did Isaiah through his prophecies...]
II. THE GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM
A. GOOD NEWS ABOUT ITS ORIGIN...
1. It shall come to pass in the “latter days”
a. The mountain of the Lord’s house will be established - Isa 2:1-2
b. The time was fulfilled when Jesus began preaching - cf. Mk 1:14-15
2. It shall proceed from Jerusalem
a. As the Word is spread - Isa 2:3
b. So Jesus explained, the Word must proceed from Jerusalem - cf. Lk 24:44-47
B. GOOD NEWS ABOUT ITS NATURE...
1. It shall be a kingdom of peace
a. People will not learn war; its king will be the Prince of Peace - Isa 2:4; 9:6-7
b. Thus the kingdom of God is one of peace - cf. Ro 14:17
2. It shall include the Gentiles
a. The Gentiles shall seek Him, in Whom they shall find justice - Isa 11:10; 42:1,6
b. Thus Jesus has united both Jew and Gentile - cf. Ep 2:11-18
C. GOOD NEWS ABOUT ITS FUTURE...
1. It shall last forever
a. Of His kingdom there shall be no end - Isa 9:7
b. Even as the angel Gabriel pronounced to Mary - cf. Lk 1:31-33
2. It shall usher in a new heavens and new earth
a. Promised by God in terms to which Israel could relate - Isa 65:17-25; 66:22-23
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b. A promised fully realized with the coming of Christ - cf. 2Pe 3:10-14; Re 21:1-4
CONCLUSION
1. Perhaps we can see why the apostles and others used the Old Testament...
a. To convince many that Jesus was the Messiah
b. To proclaim the prophecies concerning Him and His kingdom were being fulfilled
2. What is your reaction to the gospel...?
a. Foretold by the prophets centuries before Christ came?
b. Proclaimed by the apostles and preachers in the first century, A.D.?
3. My prayer and hope is that it is...
a. Similar to that of the Samaritans - cf. Ac 8:12
b. Akin to that of the Ethiopian Eunuch - cf. Ac 8:30-38
-- Not like some of those in Rome, who had hardened their hearts! - cf. Ac 28:23-31
Have your hearts grown dull, and ears hard of hearing, that the good news of the kingdom and the Lord 
Jesus Christ do not prompt the proper response?  I hope not, and that we are all moved to proper action 
by these words of Jesus spoken at the beginning and end of His ministry:
“The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the 
gospel.” - Mk 1:15
And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.  
He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be 
condemned”. (Mk 16:15-16)
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Gospel Meetings
Keys To A Successful Meeting
INTRODUCTION
1. The time for our gospel meeting is near!
a. In view of the Lord’s money and the time we will spend...
b. ...we ought to be vitally interested in its success
2. For it to be a success, we must realize our responsibility and accept it!
a. The effort of the one(s) who will preach is important
b. Yet such effort can be greatly hindered if we fail to do our part
[What is required for a successful gospel meeting?  Several keys are necessary, beginning with purpose:  
Why have a gospel meeting...?]
I. PURPOSE
A. ONE PURPOSE IS TO EVANGELIZE...
1. To seek and save the lost through proclaiming the gospel - cf. Ro 1:14-17
2. To provide opportunity for friends and neighbors to hear the gospel - cf. Ro 10:17
B. ANOTHER PURPOSE IS TO EDIFY...
1. To exhort one another to love and good works - cf. He 10:24-25
2. To revive our first love - cf. Re 2:4-5
3. To remove any lukewarmness that may have crept in - cf. Re 3:15-19
[Some meetings may be designed for one purpose or another, perhaps both.  Once we have established 
our purpose, another key to a successful meeting is...]
II. PREPARATION
A. LACK OF PREPARATION CAN KILL A MEETING...
1. What would you think of a preacher who came unprepared?
2. Yet many members are often unprepared for a meeting...
a. Unprepared to attend each and every service if possible
b. Unprepared to encourage other members to attend
c. Unprepared to exhort the members at the services
d. Unprepared to invite those for whom the meeting is intended
e. Unprepared to visit and welcome those who come
B. PREPARATION INVOLVES EFFORT BY ALL...
1. Resolving to attend every service
2. Resolving to invite others to come
3. Resolving to be friendly to all who come
[Successful preparation means working as though it depends upon us, while praying as though it
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depends upon God (more on prayer later).  Another key to a successful meeting are...]
III.PROSPECTS
A. WHO ARE THE PROSPECTS...?
1. For a meeting designed to evangelize, the prospects are the unsaved
a. Including friends, relatives, neighbors
b. Anyone who has yet to come to the Lord
2. For a meeting designed to edify, the prospects are ourselves!
a. Every member of this congregation is a prospect
b. Every member needs to be encouraged, uplifted
B. WHAT SHOULD BE DONE FOR THE PROSPECTS...?
1. They should be invited (before and during the meeting)
2. Transportation should be offered if needed
3. One might invite them to dinner, and then attend the meeting together
[There are plenty of prospects (cf. Jn 4:35). With preparation the purpose of the meeting will likely 
be fulfilled.  But there are three more keys to a successful meeting, one being...]
IV.PRESENCE
A. PRESENCE MAKES OR BREAKS A MEETING...
1. Your presence is edifying, while your absence is demoralizing!
a. Just as the absence of Titus depressed Paul - cf. 2 Co 2:12-13
b. Just as the absence of two and a half tribes would have discouraged the rest of the
tribes of Israel - cf. Num 32:6-7
2. We might think our absence is not important, but it is
a. Empty seats have an affect on those who are present
b. Affecting the morale of the members, and the impact of the meeting upon visitors
B. MEMBERS CAN MAKE THE DIFFERENCE...
1. Most meetings enjoy the presence of visitors, yet the overall attendance is often below the
normal attendance on Sunday mornings
2. Why?  Because the meeting is poorly attended by the own members of the congregation!
3. If all the members would just attend, most buildings would be filled!
4. Sadly, sometimes there are more visitors than members!
C. EXCUSES, EXCUSES...
1. Invariably, members will offer excuses to explain their absence
a. Like those in the parable of the great supper - cf. Lk 14:15-24
b. Unless it is sickness or unavoidable work, I have little sympathy
2. Don’t tell me your excuses...
a. Tell it to your brethren who are discouraged by your absence
b. Tell it to the visitors who wonder why the members don’t support their own meeting
c. Tell it to the lost who wonder if the gospel or Christ’s church is worth it
d. Tell it to those who have the same reasons not to attend, but come anyway!
e. Tell it to the Lord, who came to this earth and died for you!
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[A fifth key to a successful meeting is...]
V. PARTICIPATION
A. PARTICIPATE BEFORE AND AFTER THE SERVICE...
1. Arrive early to greet and welcome visitors
2. Sit up front, leaving the back for visitors who come late
3. Stick around afterward, greet the visitors, invite them back
4. Extend hospitality by inviting them home or to a restaurant for a snack - cf. 1Pe 4:9
B. PARTICIPATE DURING THE SERVICE...
1. Sing in a spirited manner, with grace in your hearts
2. Give a hearty amen to the prayers offered
3. Those who lead in prayer and song, do so audibly and with enthusiasm!
4. Give close attention to the sermon - cf. Ac 17:11
[Finally, but perhaps most important...]
VI.PRAYER
A. ESSENTIAL TO ANY EVANGELISTIC EFFORT...
1. Jesus called on His disciples to pray for the Lord to send forth laborers - Mt 9:35-38
2. Paul asked others to pray for his efforts to spread the Word - Col 4:3-4; 2Th 3:1
B. SO LET US PRAY...
1. For the preacher - cf. Ep 6:19
2. For the visitors - cf. Ro 10:1
3. For ourselves - cf. Col 1:9
CONCLUSION
1. If we approach our gospel meeting with the right measure of...
a. Purpose
b. Preparation
c. Prospects
d. Presence
e. Participation
f. Prayer
-- We will have an excellent and successful meeting!
2. With the help of God, our meetings will accomplish the purpose for which they are intended...
a. Saving souls
b. Edifying the saved
-- And most of all, glorifying God and His Son Jesus Christ!
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Gospel Meetings
Why Should We Attend Them?
INTRODUCTION
1. The time for our gospel meeting is near; what is your reaction...?
a. Delight?  Dismay?
b. Disinterest?  Disgust?
2. What exactly is a gospel meeting...?
a. Usually a multi-day event hosted by a congregation, open to the public
b. Where a guest speaker (preacher, evangelist) presents a series of lessons
3. I have often observed the following...
a. Some look forward to gospel meetings, and attend every service possible
b. They even visit gospel meetings conducted by other churches in the area
c. Others appear not to care, and make little effort to attend at all
[Perhaps the difference is due to a failure to appreciate why it is good to attend gospel meetings, and 
especially why we should try to attend every service during our own gospel meeting.  Allow me to 
suggest several reasons why I believe it is important.  First, we should attend gospel meetings...]
I. TO SUPPORT A GREAT MESSAGE
A. GOSPEL MEETINGS PROCLAIM THE WORD OF GOD...
1. Which is living and powerful - He 4:12
2. Which is able to produce faith - Ro 10:17
-- Isn’t God’s Word worthy of our support?
B. GOSPEL MEETINGS PROCLAIM THE GOSPEL OF CHRIST...
1. The power of God unto salvation - Ro 1:16
2. The message Jesus wants everyone to hear - Mk 16:15-16
-- Isn’t the gospel of Christ worthy of our support?
[Our presence shows our support for the great message Christ has to offer the world.  What does our 
absence show?  Secondly, we should attend gospel meetings...]
II. TO RECEIVE A GREAT MESSAGE
A. GOSPEL MEETINGS HAVE A TWO-FOLD PURPOSE...
1. One purpose is to evangelize
a. To seek and save the lost by proclaiming the gospel
b. To provide opportunity for friends, neighbors, and strangers to hear the gospel
2. Another purpose is to edify
a. To exhort one another to love and good works - He 10:24-25
b. To revive those who have lost their first love - Re 2:4-5
-- Gospel meetings are designed to meet everyone’s need
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B. GOSPEL MEETINGS OFFER SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE...
1. For sinners
a. The gospel of Christ which tells of God’s love for them - Jn 3:16; 1Jn 4:10
b. The plan of salvation which tells how to respond to God’s love - Mk 16:16; Ac 2:37-38
2. For the saved
a. Apostolic doctrine to grow in grace - Ac 2:42; 2Pe 3:18
b. Apostles’ teaching to prepare for the grace to come - 1Pe 1:13; 2Pe 1:10-11
-- Gospel meetings are designed for sinner and saved alike
[Our presence shows that we desire to receive the great message Jesus has to offer.  What does our 
absence show?  Finally, we should attend gospel meetings...] 
III.TO SEND A GREAT MESSAGE
A. GOSPEL MEETINGS ALLOW YOU TO DEMONSTRATE...
1. Your priorities in life (the kingdom of God comes first) - Mt 6:33
2. Your attitude toward the gospel (you are not ashamed of it) - Ro 1:16
3. Your concern for the lost (you have compassion for them) - Mt 9:35-38
4. Your support for your brethren (you want to encourage them) - Ro 15:1-2
-- Gospel meetings reveal a lot about ourselves 
B. GOSPEL MEETINGS ALLOW YOU TO INFLUENCE...
1. Your family, friends, neighbors, and brethren
2. For good, by the example of your presence
3. For ill, by the example of your absence
-- Gospel meetings impact a lot of people in various ways
CONCLUSION
1. In review, we should attend gospel meetings...
a. To support a great message
b. To receive a great message
c. To send a great message
2. My purpose is not to put a guilt trip on anyone, but to...
a. Enlighten you as to the value of gospel meetings
b. Encourage you to utilize the opportunity of gospel meetings 
And so I leave you these words of the apostle Paul...
“Consider what I say, and may the Lord give you understanding in all things.”
- 2Ti 2:7
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Gospel Meetings
Why Some Succeed And Others Fail
INTRODUCTION
1. Gospel meetings can be a useful tool in the work of the local church...
a. A special series of services, lasting a few days, a week, or even longer
b. In which sermons or lessons are presented by guest preachers or teachers
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 gospel
b. Edification - building up the members through teaching of God’s word
-- 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 members
b. Others are failures, discouraging those who attend rather than uplifting them
[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; 20:9
2. Listened to by a receptive audience
a. Who receive the Word with all readiness - cf. Ac 17:11
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. Co 3:16
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
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 the preacher!
C. ENTHUSIASTIC ATTENDANCE...
1. Attendance by the regular members - cf. He 10:24-25
a. Coming to every service of the meeting as possible
b. Arriving early, glad to be present
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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 prayer
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 full!
D. ENTHUSIASTIC WELCOME...
1. Extended before the service begins - cf. Ro 16:16; 3 Jn 1:14
a. By members who arrive early, ready to greet and welcome the visitors
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 gospel meeting!
[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 congregation
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 spirit
-- 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...
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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?
CONCLUSION
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
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!
“Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm”
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson ~
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Gospel Meetings
Now Our Meeting Is Over
INTRODUCTION
1. Our gospel meeting is now over...
a. Our special services to edify and evangelize have come to an end
b. The preacher has returned home, and our routine is returning to normal
-- What now?
2. When Paul and Barnabas completed their missionary journey...
a. They returned to the church at Antioch - Ac 14:26; cf. Ac 13:1-3
b. They reported what God had done with them - Ac 14:27
3. In similar fashion, now that our gospel meeting is over...
a. I think it appropriate to review what happened
b. Also, to consider the question “What next?”
[If I may, then, let me review...]
I. WHAT I SAW
A. I SAW GOD AT WORK IN YOU...
1. Note that Paul recorded what God had done during his journey - Ac 14:27
2. When a person is doing the will of God, God is at work in them - cf. Ph 2:12-13
-- Thus I witnessed this past week the work of God in your lives in various ways!
B. I SAW GOD AT WORK IN VARIOUS WAYS...
1. Hospitality
a. Many opened their hearts and homes to the preacher(s) and their families
b. My family and I likewise were beneficiaries
c. Others show kindness to visitors and other members
1) Welcoming them to services
2) Providing transportation to those in need
d. Did you know that God was at work in you while doing this?
1) The ability to show hospitality is a gift from God - cf. 1Pe 4:9-10
2) As you minister such a gift, it is with ability God supplies - cf. 1Pe 4:11
2. Edification
a. Hearts were touched by the gospel sermons and sincere prayers
b. Hearts were uplifted by the joyful singing
c. If you were so touched, God was at work in you - cf. Ac 16:14 (hoping that you might
act upon it)
3. Sacrifice
a. Many people made sacrifices to make this effort successful
1) Those with large families, to come every night!
a) Despite the challenge to get the little ones ready
b) Despite having to work around the homework the older children had
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2) Those who worked hard and long, yet made the effort to attend
a) Some worked long hours, coming straight from work
b) Some had additional responsibilities, requiring missing sleep
3) Several drove many miles to come
a) Yet came every night
b) Some driving out of their way to provide transportation
4) Mothers with families whose husbands had to work came anyway
5) Others whose spouses would not come, came anyway, proving themselves worthy
of Christ - cf. Lk 14:26
6) Some endured great pain, but made the effort to be present!
7) Others cleaned the building every night after each service!
b. Such sacrifice was a victory over Satan
1) Who wants us to serve God out of convenience, not conviction
2) Who uses such difficulties to make it inconvenient to serve God - cf. 1Pe 5:8-9
c. Such sacrifice is further demonstration of God’s working in you! - cf. 1Pe 5:10
4. Influence for good
a. Souls outside of Christ heard the gospel
1) It may be a while for fruit to show - cf. Jn 4:37
2) But when it does, God will have been at work! - cf. 1 Co 3:6-7
b. Souls in Christ heard edifying sermons
1) Challenging our commitment and service to God
2) Exhorting us to faith and love to Christ
C. I ALSO SAW THE DEVIL AT WORK...
1. Satan is known for trying to undo the work of God - cf. Mt 13:24-26,36-39
2. Satan may have succeeded in the lives of some
a. By raising stumbling blocks in their way
b. By providing excuses for those who chose not to attend
c. By discouraging those who attended through the absence of others
[But now that the meeting is over, we cannot focus our attention on the past (cf. Ph 3:13).  So I ask...]
II. WHAT NEXT?
A. REST IS APPROPRIATE...
1. Paul spent some time in between his journeys - cf. Ac 14:28
2. Jesus told His disciples to take a rest - cf. Mk 6:30-31
-- So taking a “breather” (a short respite) is understandable 
B. RETIREMENT IS NOT...
1. Our retirement is “out of this world”, for which we must maintain diligence - cf. He 4:1-2,
9-11
2. Yes, we need to persevere - cf. He 10:32-39
3. There is need to be careful, and not become like the church...
a. At Ephesus (forgetful) - Re 2:2-5
b. At Sardis (incomplete) - Re 3:2-3
c. At Laodicea (lukewarm) - Re 3:15-16
C. WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE...
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1. By those who are faithful Christians
a. We have heard lessons to stimulate us to greater service
b. We need to apply what we learned - cf. Jm 1:22-25
2. For those who visited the services
a. The seed has been sown!
1) Non-Christians have heard lessons on Jesus and the judgment
2) Erring Christians have heard lessons on the need for faithfulness
b. Now comes the time to water what was planted! - 1 Co 3:6
1) Follow up with those willing to study further
2) Pray for them, that their hearts will be receptive
3. For those who neglected the services
a. Patience, humility, gentleness and prayer in trying to reach them - cf. 2 Ti 2:24-26
b. Hopefully, like the prodigal son they will eventually “come to themselves” - Lk 15:17
CONCLUSION
1. Now that the meeting is over, on the surface it appears to have been a good one...
a. Attendance was good (though it could have been much better)
b. Those who attended were edified
-- But only time will tell of the real effect of this effort
2. Follow-up is now important...
a. Paul described the need for follow-up in regards to his journeys - Ac 15:36
b. Our follow-up will include the regular edification provided by our life together as a church
c. But it can also include making plans for future meetings
-- The lessons learned in this meeting can help us to prepare to the next meeting!
What lessons have you learned from this meeting...?
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The Gospel Of Christ
INTRODUCTION
1. In Mk 16:15-16, Jesus makes reference to “the gospel”...
a. Commanding His disciples to preach it to every creature
b. Offering salvation to all who believe and are baptized
2. In Ro 1:16-17, Paul makes reference to “the gospel”...
a. How he was not ashamed of it
b. How it is the power of God unto salvation for all who believe
3. What is this “gospel”...?
a. That Jesus wanted everyone to hear?
b. That is God’s power to save mankind?
4. The word “gospel” (Gr., euaggelion) means “good news”...
a. It pertains to the good news of salvation through Christ
b. It involves the proclamation of God’s grace offered through Jesus
c. It requires a response involving obedience - cf. 1Pe 4:17; 2 Th 1:7-8
5. A simple way to summarize the content of the “gospel” is that it contains...
a. Facts to believe
b. Commands to obey
c. Promises to receive
[Let’s take a closer look at “The Gospel Of Christ”, starting with...]
I. FACTS TO BELIEVE
A. CHRIST WAS CRUCIFIED FOR OUR SINS...
1. Fundamental to the gospel Paul preached - 1 Co 15:1-3
2. As foretold by the Old Testament scriptures - Isa 53:4-6
3. Why did Jesus die for our sins?
a. Because we are all sinners! - Ro 3:23
b. Because the wages of sin is death! - Ro 6:23
-- In love God offers His Son as a “propitiation” (sacrifice) for our sins! - 1 Jn 4:9-10
B. CHRIST WAS RAISED FROM THE DEAD...
1. Also fundamental to the gospel Paul preached - 1 Co 15:4
2. As proclaimed by Peter in the first gospel sermon - Ac 2:22-32
3. As seen by many eyewitnesses - 1 Co 15:5-8
-- Raising Jesus verifies the justification offered on the cross! - Ro 4:25
C. CHRIST IS EXALTED AS KING AND SAVIOR...
1. He is now both Lord and Christ - Ac 2:33-36
2. He is head over all things - Ep 1:20-23
3. All authorities and powers are now subject to Him - 1Pe 3:22
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-- God has made Jesus ruler over the kings of the earth! - Re 1:5
D. CHRIST IS COMING AGAIN...
1. As promised when He ascended to heaven - Ac 1:9-11
2. Coming to offer both rest and tribulation - 2 Th 1:7-10
a. Rest to those who responded to the call of the gospel - 2 Th 2:13-14
b. Tribulation to those who obeyed not the gospel - 2 Th 1:8-9
-- His coming will cause many to mourn, while others rejoice - Re 1:7; 22:20
[Whether we are prepared for His coming depends upon our obedience to the gospel (cf. 2 Th 1:8).  
This implies that “The Gospel Of Christ” also contains...]
II. COMMANDS TO OBEY
A. BELIEVE THE GOSPEL CONCERNING JESUS CHRIST...
1. We must believe the gospel, or we are lost! - Mk 16:16
2. The gospel is God’s power for salvation to those who believe - Ro 1:16
3. E.g., we must believe that God raised Him from the dead - Ro 10:9-10
-- For those willing to believe, eternal life can be theirs! - Jn 3:16; 20:30-31
B. CONFESS YOUR FAITH IN JESUS...
1. Confessing with our mouth the Lord Jesus leads to salvation - Ro 10:9-10
2. The Ethiopian eunuch provides an example of such a confession - Ac 8:37
-- Jesus will confess us before God if we confess Him before others! - Mt 10:32-33
C. REPENT OF YOUR SINS...
1. Jesus wanted repentance preached in His name to all nations - Lk 24:46-47
2. Peter therefore preached the need to repent to the Jews - Ac 2:37-38; 3:19
3. Paul likewise preached the need to repent to the Gentiles - Ac 17:30-31
-- Unless we repent, we will perish in our sins! - Lk 13:3
D. BE BAPTIZED FOR THE REMISSION OF SINS...
1. Jesus expected people to be baptized in response to His gospel - Mk 16:15-16
2. Peter proclaimed baptism for the remission of sins to those who believed - Ac 2:37-38
3. Paul related the place baptism had in his salvation from sin - Ac 22:16
-- When we submit to baptism, God does His work in saving us! - Co 2:11-13
E. BE FAITHFUL UNTO DEATH...
1. Faithfulness is necessary if we desire to receive the crown of life - Re 2:10
2. There is a real danger in losing our faith - He 3:12-14
-- Rest assured, our faithful labors will not be in vain! - 1 Co 15:58
[When one obeys the commands of the gospel, they receive wonderful blessings.  These blessings are
offered in the gospel as...]
III.PROMISES TO RECEIVE
A. THE REMISSION OF SINS...
1. We are promised the remission of sins! - Ac 2:38
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2. Our sins are “blotted out”, “washed away” - Ac 3:19; 22:16
3. Made possible by the precious blood of Christ - Ep 1:7
-- An ongoing blessing whenever we confess our sins! - 1 Jn 1:9
B. THE GIFT OF THE HOLY SPIRIT...
1. Spoken of by Christ during His ministry - Jn 7:37-39
2. Promised to those who repent and are baptized - Ac 2:38-39; 5:32
3. One aspect of this gift relates to His indwelling
a. The Spirit indwells the Christ - 1 Co 6:19; Ro 8:9-11
b. The Spirit enables us to mortify the flesh - Ro 8:12-13
c. The Spirit is God’s instrumental agent to strengthen the Christ - Ep 3:16
d. The Spirit can produce wonderful fruit in our life - Ga 5:22-23
-- Because we are His children, God has given us this wonderful Gift! - Ga 4:6
C. THE GIFT OF ETERNAL LIFE...
1. In the sense of our eternal reward
a. Received at the end of a life bearing the fruit of holiness - Ro 6:22-23
b. Received in the age to come - Mk 10:29-30
c. Received at the time of judgment - Mt 25:46
2. In the sense of our abundant life now
a. Offered by Jesus - Jn 10:10
b. A quality of life made possible by our relationship with God - Jn 17:2-3
c. A life in Christ enjoyed even now - 1 Jn 5:11-13
-- Thus godly living has promise both in this life, and that which is come! - 1 Ti 4:8
CONCLUSION
1. Can we understand why “The Gospel Of Christ” is “good news”...?
a. The “facts to believe” contains the message of God’s love and grace
b. The “commands to obey” are not difficult works, done to earn salvation, but simple acts of
faith whereby we receive God’s grace - cf. 1 Jn 5:3
c. The “promises to receive” help us deal with the real problem of sin in our lives
2. What have you done with “The Gospel of Christ”...?
a. You have now heard it, if not before
b. You know as much as those who heard it on the day of Pentecost, if not even more
Together with the apostle Peter, we implore you:  “Be saved from this perverse generation.” (Ac 2:40)
Respond as they did (in faith and baptism, Ac 2:41), and rest assured that Jesus will save you and add
you to His church! - cf. Ac 2:41,47
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The Gospel Of The Grace Of God
INTRODUCTION
1. In Ac 20:24, Paul speaks of the ministry he had received from the Lord Jesus:
“to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.”
2. The word gospel means “good news”, and grace means “unmerited favor”; so Paul was given the
ministry to proclaim the good news...
a. That God has provided a way of salvation for sinners
b. And that He had done this without requiring merit on the part of sinners!
3. In this lesson we shall summarize the “The Gospel Of The Grace Of God” under three headings:
a. The need for grace
b. The provision of grace
c. The reception of grace
[Before we can begin to appreciate why the grace of God is good news, we must understand...]
I. THE NEED FOR GRACE
A. THE BIBLE DESCRIBES MAN’S TRUE CONDITION...
1. “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” - Ro 3:23
2. “For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all.” 
- Jm 2:10
3. “For the wages of sin is death...” - Ro 6:23
4. “But your iniquities have separated you from your God; and your sins have hidden His face
from you, so that He will not hear.” - Isa 59:2
5. “But we are all like an unclean thing, and all our righteounesses are like filthy rags;” - Isa
64:6
B. WHAT THESE PASSAGES REALLY MEAN TO US...
1. We must all plead guilty!
a. Every accountable person has sinned
b. We can never demand entrance into heaven because we are somehow good enough
c. Even the very best of us is without merit in God’s sight!
2. Our sins have alienated us from God!
a. By our transgressions, we lose that precious relationship with God
b. We experience “spiritual” death, or separation from God; which if left unchecked, will
result in eternal separation from God (i.e., hell)
c. While in this state of “spiritual” death, we are dead to God; our prayers are not heard 
- cf. 1Pe 3:12
3. As sinners, we cannot accomplish the removal of our guilt on our own!
a. We cannot run away from this guilt
b. We cannot work our way out of this guilt
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[So don’t be self-deceived by notions of our own goodness.  We are sinners in need of salvation!  It is 
fair to say, then, that the first requirement of salvation is recognition of our true guilt.  Once we 
acknowledge our sinfulness, we are in a position to appreciate...]
II. THE PROVISION OF GRACE
A. OUT OF LOVE, GOD HAS PROVIDED HIS SON...
1. Because God loved us, He sent His Son to die that we might have eternal life - Jn 3:16; 
1 Jn 4:9
2. Because God loved us, He made His Son a propitiation for our sins - 1 Jn 4:10
a. A “propitiation” is a sacrifice designed to appease
b. Therefore God has offered His Son as a sacrifice designed to appease Himself, which
leads to a related point...
B. OUT OF JUSTICE, GOD HAS PROVIDED HIS SON...
1. To satisfy His justice, God provided redemption through the blood of His Son - Ro 3:
24-26
2. God’s grace therefore functions in this way:
a. God’s justice requires an appropriate sacrifice for sin
b. Because He loves us, He provided His Son as a sacrifice for sin
c. God recognizes the death of Jesus on the cross as a suitable ransom for our sins, paid in
full!
[So to satisfy both His justice and His love, God has graciously provided salvation through His Son, 
Jesus Christ.  What we cannot earn, God has provided!  But the provision of grace is not unconditional 
(otherwise all would be saved).  Therefore we need to consider...]
III.THE RECEPTION OF GRACE
A. RECEIVING GOD’S SAVING GRACE REQUIRES OBEDIENCE...
1. For Jesus is “the author (or source) of eternal salvation to all who obey Him,” - He 5:9
2. Freedom from sin comes when one is willing to obey from the heart - Ro 6:17-18
3. Such obedience involves:
a. Trusting in Jesus as the Son of God who died for your sins - Jn 3:16
b. Confessing your faith before men - Ro 10:9-10
c. Repenting of your sins - Ac 17:30
d. Culminating with being buried with Christ in baptism for the remission of your sins - Mk
16:15-16; Ac 2:38; 22:16
B. HOWEVER, SUCH OBEDIENCE HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH EARNING OR
MERITING SALVATION...!
1. Salvation is by grace, and “not by works of righteousness which we have done” - Ti 3:4-5a
2. But by God’s mercy, He saves us “through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the
Holy Spirit” - Ti 3:5b
a. When a penitent sinner, who trusts in Jesus, is baptized into Christ....
1) He or she is united with Christ by baptism into His death, and therefore rises to
walk in  newness of life - cf. Ro 6:3-8
2) He or she is “clothed” with Christ, able to enjoy all the blessings made possible by
Jesus’ death and resurrected life! - cf. Ga 3:26-27; He 7:24-25
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b. Through such a “washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit”, one is truly
“born again of the water and the Spirit”! - cf. Jn 3:5
CONCLUSION
1. God has ordained...
a. ...that through faith and repentance
b. ...culminating with baptism into Christ
...we might receive the wonderful grace of God!
2. Why don’t more people respond to God’s saving grace?
a. It may be some do not understand the NEED for grace
1) They consider themselves good, moral people
2) Yet, in nearly every example of salvation in the book of Acts, those being saved were
deeply religious and very moral already!
3) And as Isaiah said, “all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags”!
b. It may be some are not aware of the PROVISION of grace
1) They may think that they are too sinful to receive God’s grace
2) Yet God desires all to be saved, and has provided Jesus “a ransom for all” - cf. 1 Ti 2:
3-6
c. It may be that some have not been taught the proper RECEPTION of grace
1) Many are told to “Say the sinner’s prayer”, but are not told what Jesus and His apostles
commanded people to do to receive God’s saving grace
2) People need to listen to Christ and His apostles, not modern preachers! - cf. Mk 16:
15-16; Ac 2:36-38; 22:16
3. We saw at the beginning of our study that Paul’s ministry was...
“to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.” (Ac 20:24)
4. So we have sought to do in this study; and in closing, we add the words of Peter...
“testifying that this is the true grace of God in which you stand.” (1Pe 5:12)
Dear friends, what is your relationship to the grace of God?  Have you received the gospel of the grace 
of God?  Are you standing in the true grace of God?
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Grace And The Christian
INTRODUCTION
1. There is a word that conveys wonderful hope and comfort to the Christian...
a. The word is “grace”
b. It is a word that Paul loved to use
1) Every epistle that he wrote (with the possible exception of Hebrews), begins and ends with
mention of this word
2) E.g., 1 Th 1:1; 5:28
2. What does this word actually mean...?
a. How is it used in the N. T. scriptures?
b. What important things should we keep in mind concerning “grace”?
[In this study, we shall spend a few moments focusing our attention on this wonderful word, and its 
relationship to the Christian.  Let’s begin by noticing..]
I. THE DEFINITION OF GRACE
A. THAT WHICH GIVES JOY, PLEASURE, DELIGHT...
1. This is the original idea of the word “charis”
2. It is used in the N.T. in this way in reference to speech...
a. The words of Jesus were spoken with grace - Lk 4:22
b. The words of the Christian are to impart grace to the hearers - Ep 4::29; Co 4:6
B. GOODWILL, LOVINGKINDNESS, FAVOR...
1. In this way, it is used ...
a. Of the kindness of a master towards his inferiors or servants
b. And especially of God towards men
2. Thayer points out that:
a. “Charis contains the idea of kindness which bestows upon one what he has not
deserved.”
b. “The NT writers use charis preeminently of that kindness by which God bestows
favors even upon the ill-deserving, and grants to sinners the pardon of their offenses,
and bids them accept of eternal salvation through Christ.” - e.g., Ep 2:5
3. It is this particular definition of grace that prompts us to think of it most often as
“unmerited favor”
C. A SPIRITUAL STATE OR CONDITION IN WHICH ONE ENJOYS GOD’S GOOD
FAVOR...
1. When one accepts God’s grace, they are in a “state of grace”
2. Cf. Ro 5:1-2; 1Pe 5:12
D. AN EXPRESSION OF GRATITUDE FOR FAVOR BESTOWED...
1. E.g., 1 Ti 1:12 where the English word is “thank” (“I thank Jesus Christ...”)
2. This is what is meant when people ask someone to “say grace” before eating a meal
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[Such are the main ways the word grace is used in the NT.  In connection with this word, there are some 
things that Christians should always keep in mind ...]
II. GRACE AND THE CHRISTIAN
A. WE ARE SAVED BY GRACE...!
1. Salvation is first, foremost, and always a matter of grace! - Ep 2:5-8
a. God doesn’t owe us anything
b. What we deserve is eternal damnation, because all are sinners - Ro 3:23; 6:23a
c. Salvation is a gift, which God in lovingkindness offers to man - Ro 6:23b; Ti 3:3-7
2. No matter what God may call upon us to do in order to receive His grace, when we do
those things (cf. believe, repent, confess Jesus, be baptized)...
a. In no way can we ever say that we earned or merited salvation
b. We are still “unworthy servants” - cf. Lk 17:10
3. We must forever remember that only by God’s grace is salvation possible!
B. GOD’S GRACE REQUIRES HOLY LIVING...!
1. Some people reason that since we are saved by grace, we are free to do whatever we wish
2. Yet Paul wrote that the “grace of God...teaches us” to:
a. Deny ungodliness and worldly lusts
b. Live soberly, righteously and godly
c. Look for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of Jesus Christ - cf. Ti 2:11-13
3. As he continues, Paul explain why Jesus in grace gave Himself for us...
a. That He might redeem us from every lawless deed
b. That He might purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works - cf.
Ti 2:14
4. The unmerited favor of God is no excuse to go on sinning!
C. HOLY LIVING REQUIRES GOD’S GRACE...!
1. To live “soberly, righteously and godly” requires the grace of God
2. We cannot do it on our own, but with God’s help we can!
a. He works in us to do His good will - Ph 2:12-13
b. By His strength we can do all the things He desires of us - Ph 4:13
D. WE MUST GROW IN GRACE...!
1. This is especially true if we are going to live holy lives
2. Peter commands us to grow in grace - cf. 2Pe 3:18
3. Dear brother or sister, it is not enough just to experience God’s grace in forgiving our sins
a. God has so much more to share with us, both in this life and the life to come - Ep 2:7
b. This explains Paul’s salutations and benedictions - cf. 1 Th 1:1; 5:28
4. We can grow in grace through:
a. Heeding the Word of God - Ac 20:32
                  b. Drawing near to God in prayer - He 4:16
E. WE CAN RECEIVE GOD’S GRACE IN VAIN...!
1. Paul begged the Corinthians that they might not receive God’s grace in vain - 2 Co 6:1
2. Having received God’s grace, it is possible for it to have been in vain!
a. By seeking justification for sin elsewhere - Ga 5:4
1) In the immediate context, Paul has reference to the Law of Moses
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2) But if we seek to be justified by any system of salvation by works alone, we will fall
from grace!
b. By using God’s grace as an excuse for licentiousness - Ju 4
1) Some were using grace as an excuse for shameless behavior
2) And yet we have seen that God’s grace requires holy living - 2 Ti 2:11-14
c. By willful and impenitent sinning, thereby despising the Spirit of grace - cf. He 10:26-31
1) For such a person there no longer remains a sacrifice of sin!
2) Only a fearful expectation of judgment
3) Why?  Because through such willful and impenitent sin...
a) Trampled the Son of God underfoot
b) Counted the blood of the covenant (i.e., Jesus’ blood) by which he was
sanctified (i.e., saved) a common thing
c) Insulted the Spirit of grace
CONCLUSION
1. What a terrible thing it would be, to have received God’s grace in vain...!
a. To have received God’s grace at one point
b. But then to make it all vain (useless) 
2. But it is just as terrible...
a. Not to receive it all!
b. Or having received it, not to grow in it!
3. So I encourage you all, in the words of the writer of Hebrews:
“look(ing) diligently lest anyone fall short of the grace of God.” - He 12:15
“let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly 
fear.”  - He 12:28
“For it is good that the heart be established by grace...” - He 13:9
“Grace be with you all.  Amen” - He 13:25
Have you received the wonderful grace of God in your life?
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The Great Commission
According To Matthew
INTRODUCTION
1. In Matthew’s account of  “The Great Commission,” notice the main thought of Jesus’ command...
a. “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations” - Mt 28:18-20
b. Jesus wanted His apostles to make disciples
2. Are you a disciple of Jesus...?
a. More than likely you believe in Jesus
b. You might even be one to attend church services regularly
[But is that what it means to be His disciple?  Let’s take a close look at...]
I. THE MEANING OF A DISCIPLE
A. THE DEFINITION OF A DISCIPLE...
1. The word “disciple” literally means a learner
a. It denotes “one who follows another's teaching” - Vine
b. A disciple was not only a learner, he was also an adherent
c. For this reason disciples were spoken of as imitators of their teachers
2. The goal in being a disciple
a. As stated by Jesus:  to be like the teacher - Lk 6:40
b. To be His disciple, then, is to strive to be like Him!
3. According to Paul, this coincides with God's goal in the redemption of mankind, that they be
conformed to the image of His Son - Ro 8:29
-- Do you have a strong desire to follow Jesus and become like Him?  Unless you do,
it cannot be said that you are truly His disciple!
B. THE MARKS OF A DISCIPLE...
1. One who abides in the words of Jesus - Jn 8:31
a. This would imply being a diligent student of the teachings of Christ
b. It also requires one to be a doer of the Word - Mt 7:21-27; Jm 1:21-25
2. One who loves the brethren - Jn 13:34-35
a. With a love patterned after the love of Jesus (“as I have loved you”)
b. With a love that is visible to the world (“by this all will know”)
c. Made possible when we have been born again - 1Pe 1:22-23
3. One who bears much fruit - Jn 15:8
a. Notice the word “much” (also found in verse 5)
b. Jesus is not talking about an occasional good deed
c. But a lifestyle which prompts people to glorify God! - Mt 5:16
-- To be a disciple of Jesus means more that just a casual church member; it requires
commitment to the teachings of Christ, the love of brethren, and bearing fruit
[Now that we understand the nature of discipleship how does one begin?  For the answer we return to 
our beginning text (Mt 28:19-20)...]
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II. THE MAKING OF A DISCIPLE
A. IT INVOLVES BAPTISM...
1. Why baptism?
a. Remember the goal of discipleship:  to be like Jesus
b. He was holy and sinless, yet we are to be like Him
c. Fortunately, baptism is described as an act of faith which puts us in contact with the
cleansing blood of Jesus Christ so we can be forgiven - Ac 2:38; 22:16; Ro 6:3-4
d. It is also the means by which one “puts on Christ” - Ga 3:27
e. So baptism is the logical starting place for true discipleship!
2. What is baptism?
a. It is an act of submission which must be preceded by faith in Jesus and repentance for
our sins - Ac 2:36-38; 8:36-37
b. It is also an act of submission which involves a burial in water, in which one then rises to
walk in newness of life through the power of God - Ac 8:38; Ro 6:3-4; Co 2:12
3. When done according to the Word of God, baptism then becomes an act of faith on our
part which results in a wonderful working of God in our lives!
a. Our sins are washed away by the blood of Jesus - Ac 22:16; Ep 5:25-27
b. We are regenerated and renewed by the Spirit of God- Ti 3:5-6
-- When done in faith and repentance, baptism is truly a rebirth involving both water
and the Spirit! - Jn 3:5
B. IT INCLUDES TEACHING AND OBEDIENCE...
1. This brings us back to the very definition of discipleship
2.  For Jesus clearly states:
a. We are to be taught (that is, to be learners)
b. We are to observe (that is, to be adherents or doers)
3. In this way we embark on a life devoted to learning and doing all that Jesus commanded
a. We are to continue steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine - Ac 2:42
b. We are to imitate them, even as they imitated Christ - 1 Co 11:1
-- Thus baptism is the beginning of a life of learning and obeying the words of Jesus
Christ - Lk 6:46
CONCLUSION
1. Only those scripturally baptized, observing all Jesus commanded, can truly be called His disciples!
2. Only they can take consolation in the promise of Jesus:  “and lo, I am with you always, even to
the end of the age” - Mt 28:20
Do you desire this wonderful promise?  You must be willing to accept the authority and lordship of 
Jesus Christ in your life (cf. Mt 28:18).  Are you willing to be a disciple of Jesus Christ...?
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The Great Commission
According To Mark
INTRODUCTION
1. In Mark’s account of  “The Great Commission,” notice the main thought of Jesus’ command...
a. “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature” - Mk 16:15-16
b. Jesus wanted every person in the world to hear the gospel (good news)
2. Have you heard the gospel of Jesus Christ...?
a. You have likely hear some part of the gospel
b. You might even have responded in some fashion to it
[But exactly what is the gospel of Christ, and how should one respond to it?  With Mark’s account of the 
Great Commission as our starting point, note that the gospel of Christ contains...]
I. FACTS TO BELIEVE
A. CHRIST WAS CRUCIFIED FOR OUR SINS...
1. This is likely the main point Jesus had in mind when He said “Preach the gospel...”
2. It was fundamental to the gospel Paul preached - 1 Co 15:1-3
3. Why did Jesus die for our sins?
a. Because we are all sinners! - Ro 3:23
b. Because the wages of sin is death! - Ro 6:23
-- In love God offers His Son as a “propitiation” (sacrifice) for our sins! - 1 Jn 4:9-10
B. OTHER FACTS OF THE GOSPEL TO BELIEVE...
1. Christ was raised from the dead
a. Also fundamental to the gospel Paul preached - 1 Co 15:4
b. As proclaimed by Peter in the first gospel sermon - Ac 2:22-32
2. Chris is exalted as King and Savior
a. He is now both Lord and Christ - Ac 2:33-36
b. He is head over all things - Ep 1:20-23
3. Christ is coming again
a. As promised when He ascended to heaven - Ac 1:9-11
b. Coming to offer both rest and tribulation - 2 Th 1:7-10
-- He who died for us arose and ascended to reign and will return in judgment!
[Whether we are prepared for His coming depends upon our obedience to the gospel (cf. 2 Th 1:8).  In 
“The Great Commission According To Mark”, it is clear the gospel of Christ contains...]
II. COMMANDS TO OBEY
A. BELIEVE THE GOSPEL CONCERNING JESUS CHRIST...
1. We must believe the gospel, or we are lost! - Mk 16:16
2. The gospel is God’s power for salvation to those who believe - Ro 1:16
3. E.g., we must believe that God raised Him from the dead - Ro 10:9-10
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-- For those willing to believe, eternal life can be theirs! - Jn 3:16; 20:30-31
B. BE BAPTIZED FOR THE REMISSION OF SINS...
1. Jesus expected people to be baptized in response to His gospel - Mk 16:15-16
2. Peter proclaimed baptism for the remission of sins to those who believed - Ac 2:37-38
3. Paul related the place baptism had in his salvation from sin - Ac 22:16
-- When we submit to baptism, God does His work in saving us! - Co 2:11-13
C. OTHER COMMANDS OF THE GOSPEL TO OBEY...
1. Confess your faith in Jesus
a. Confessing with our mouth the Lord Jesus leads to salvation - Ro 10:9-10
b. Jesus will confess us before God if we confess Him before others! - Mt 10:32-33
2. Repent of your sins
a. Jesus wanted repentance preached in His name to all nations - Lk 24:46-47
b. The apostles therefore preached the need to repent - Ac 2:37-38; 3:19; 17:30-31
3. Be faithful unto death
a. Faithfulness is necessary if we desire to receive the crown of life - Re 2:10
b. There is a real danger in losing our faith - He 3:12-14
-- Though not included in Mark’s account of the Great Commission, these commands
are clearly taught elsewhere in the Scriptures!
[When one obeys the commands of the gospel, they receive wonderful blessings.  In “The Great 
Commission According To Mark”, it is clear the gospel of Christ contains...]
III.PROMISES TO RECEIVE
A. THE PROMISE OF SALVATION...
1. Clearly stated in Mark’s account of the Great Commission - Mk 16:16
2. This involves salvation from sin - Mt 1:21
a. We are promised the remission of sins! - Ac 2:38
b. Our sins are “blotted out”, “washed away” - Ac 3:19; 22:16
c. Made possible by the precious blood of Christ - Ep 1:7
d. An ongoing blessing whenever we confess our sins - 1 Jn 1:9
3. It also includes salvation from the wrath to come - Ro 5:9
a. When Jesus comes in flaming fire - 2 Th 1:7-10
b. A day of wrath and indignation, tribulation and anguish - Ro 2:4-11
-- Such is the salvation that Jesus promises to those who obey the gospel!
B. OTHER PROMISES OF THE GOSPEL TO RECEIVE...
1. The gift of the Holy Spirit
a. Spoken of by Christ during His ministry - Jn 7:37-39
b. Promised to those who repent and are baptized - Ac 2:38-39; 5:32
c. Given by God to those who become His children - Ga 4:6; cf. 3:26-27
2. The gift of eternal life
a. In the sense of our eternal reward...
1) Received at the end of a life bearing the fruit of holiness - Ro 6:22-23
2) Received in the age to come - Mk 10:29-30
b. In the sense of abundant life now...
1) As offered by Jesus - Jn 10:10
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2) A quality of life made possible by our relationship with God - Jn 17:2-3
3) A life in Christ enjoyed even now - 1 Jn 5:11-13
-- Thus the gospel has promise both in this life, and that which is come! - 1 Ti 4:8
CONCLUSION
1. The gospel Jesus wanted preached to every creature is certain “good news”...
a. The facts to believe contains the message of God’s love and grace
b. The commands to obey are not difficult works done to earn salvation, but simple acts of faith
whereby we receive God’s grace
c. The promises to receive help us deal with the real problem of sin in our lives, and prepare for
the blessings of eternity!
2. What have you done with the gospel of Christ...?
a. Jesus wanted you to know about it
b. You have now heard it, if not before
Jesus made clear what He wanted people to do (believe and be baptized).  He also made clear what 
would happen if we did not:  “He who does not believe will be condemned.”
Are you willing to believe the facts of the gospel and obey its commands?  If so, then its wonderful 
promises are there for you to receive...! 
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The Great Commission
According To Luke
INTRODUCTION
1. In Luke’s account of  “The Great Commission” (Lk 24:44-47), we find that Jesus wanted two
things to be preached in His name to all nations...
a. Repentance
b. Remission of sins
2. In Acts, we learn that the apostles did indeed preach repentance and remission of sins...
a. The preaching of Peter - Ac 2:38; 3:19; 5:31
b. The preaching of Paul - Ac 13:38; 17:30
[Do we understand what it means to repent?  Do we appreciate what it means to have our sins remitted?  
To be sure that we do, let’s examine both concepts, starting with...]
I. REPENTANCE
A. REPENTANCE PROPERLY DEFINED...
1. Some misconceptions of repentance
a. That repentance is simply being sorry
b. That repentance is a changed life
2. A proper concept of repentance
a. “change of mind; involves both a turning from sin and a turning to God” - Vine
b. I.e., a change of mind in which we decide to turn from sin and turn to God
-- Repentance is a decision, preceded by sorrow and followed by a changed life
B. REPENTANCE PROPERLY PRODUCED...
1. Repentance is produced by sorrow - 2 Co 7:9a
a. Sorrow leads to repentance
b. Sorrow itself is not repentance
2. Repentance is produced by godly sorrow - 2 Co 7:9b-10
a. Godly sorrow leads one to repentance, not worldly sorrow
b. Godly sorrow is that directed toward God, sorrow because one has sinned against a
holy, loving God, not because one got ‘caught’ (cf. David’s attitude) - Ps 51:4
-- The right kind of sorrow produces the proper change of mind, leading to salvation
C. REPENTANCE PROPERLY MANIFESTED...
1. True repentance will manifest itself in a changed life - 2 Co 7:11
a. Such as diligence, clearing of one’s self, indignation, fear
b. Such as vehement desire, zeal, vindication
2. True repentance will produce works befitting repentance - Ac 26:20
a. Such as confessing Jesus, and being baptized into Christ - Ac 8:36-38
b. Such as walking in works that God has ordained for those in Christ - Ep 2:10
-- Apathy, halfhearted service, is not indicative of true repentance!
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[Often, those who repented when they first came to Christ need to repent again (e.g., Re 2:4-5).  
Wherever there is true repentance, remission of sins follows...]
II. REMISSION OF SINS
A. REMISSION OF SINS PROPERLY UNDERSTOOD...
1. The word remission means “to remit”, and involves a dismissal, release
2. A key synonym often used in some translations is the word “forgiveness”
3. Other terms and metaphors are used in the Bible to describe the “remission” of sins:
a. Sins are “taken away” - Jn 1:29; Ro 11:27
b. Sins are “blotted out” - Ac 3:19
c. Sins are “washed away” - Ac 22:16
d. Sins are “covered” - Ro 4:7
e. Sins are “not imputed” - Ro 4:8
f. Sins are “purged” - He 1:3; 2Pe 1:9
g. Sins are “remembered no more” - He 8:12
4. All signifying the removal of the guilt of sin from the sinner!
a. A sinner whose sins have been so forgiven is “justified” - 1 Co 6:11
b. A legal term which means “not guilty”
-- The remission of sins is made possible through the blood of Christ! - Mt 26:28
B. REMISSION OF SINS PROPERLY RECEIVED...
1. By the alien sinner (one who is not yet a Christian)
a. By believing (trusting) in Jesus - Ac 10:42-43
b. By repenting and being baptized - cf. Ac 2:38
2. By the erring Christian (who sins after they have been baptized)
a. By repenting and praying - Ac 8:22
b. By confessing one’s sins to God - 1 Jn 1:9
-- Note that in both cases remission of sins is tied to repentance!
CONCLUSION
1. Do we want the blessing of having our sins remitted...?
a. It is possible only through the blood of Jesus!
b. It requires repentance brought about godly sorrow for our sins
2. Are you willing to do “works befitting repentance”...?
a. Not works done to earn or merit remission of sins
b. But acts of faith done to receive God’s grace and mercy through the blood of Christ
If you are a sinner still outside of Christ, then believe in Jesus, repent of sins, confess Jesus, and be 
baptized for the remission of yours.  If you are an erring Christian, then repent of your sins and pray, 
knowing that God will cleanse you of all unrighteousness...!
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The Greatest Need
INTRODUCTION
1. Many are the needs of our day...
a. The need for peace in war-torn areas around the world
b. The need for food and clothing in poverty stricken countries
c. The need for loving families, civil rights, good paying jobs, etc.
-- These needs are certainly noble and very important
2. Yet I suggest that the greatest need for our world is evangelism...
a. Sharing the gospel with every person - Mk 16:15
b. Preaching the word everywhere - Ac 8:5
-- A need that was met aggressively in the first century AD - Co 1:23
[Why evangelism is “The Greatest Need” may not be apparent to some, so a reminder of...]
I. WHY THE NEED IS SO GREAT
A. THE CONDITION OF THE WORLD...
1. Billions are dying, lost in sin!
a. For all have sinned - Ro 3:23
b. Without Jesus, they will die in their sins - Jn 8:24
2. What this means close to home
a. Relatives, friends and neighbors will be lost
b. For many Christians are doing little if anything to teach them
3. What this means in nations far way
a. Precious souls will die outside of Christ
b. Because many Christians are unwilling to either go or send - cf. Ro 10:14-15
-- Unless we do something to meet this need, souls will be lost!
B. THE CONDITION OF THE CHURCH...
1. Many congregations have lost their focus
a. They have become little more than a social club
b. Meeting only the social and emotional needs of its members
c. They have become burdened by that which is the responsibility of others - 1 Ti 5:16
2. Many congregations are declining in number
a. As Christians die or fall away, little is being done to convert others
b. Where numerical growth occurs, it is often by Christians moving in to the area
-- Unless we do something to meet this need, many churches will cease to exist!
[So the need is great, for to save others and to save ourselves we need to evangelize!  Yet consider...]
II. WHY THE NEED IS NOT BEING MET
A. FOR SOME, IT IS A LACK OF CONCERN...
1. Not concerned for the Lord’s cause, who came to seek and save - Lk 19:10
2. Not concerned for those lost and dying in sin, unlike Paul - cf. Ro 10:1
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3. Not concerned for their own welfare, endangered by failing to bear fruit - Jn 15:1-2
-- Have we become so hardened, that we no longer care?
B. FOR SOME, IT IS A LACK OF KNOWLEDGE...
1. Lacking knowledge of God’s Word
a. Perhaps unaware that Jesus calls us to this mission - Mt 28:19; Mk 16;15; 1Pe 2:9
b. Perhaps needing to be taught again so we may teach others - He 5:12
2. Lacking knowledge of what to do, what to say
a. When it can often be as simple as saying, “Come and see” - Jn 1:45-46
b. When it simply involves sharing with others what you have believed and done
-- Are we willing to make the effort to learn, that others might be saved?
C. FOR SOME, IT IS A LACK OF COURAGE...
1. There is a fear of being:
a. Rejected by loved ones
b. Ridiculed by friends and strangers
c. Reviled by enemies of Christ
2. Yet there is no need to fear such things
a. People are not rejecting us, but Christ
b. If reviled for the name of Christ, we are blessed - Mt 5:11-12; 1Pe 4:14-16
c. If we are servants of Christ, we seek to please God, not men - Ga 1:10
-- Are we willing to overcome our fears, to save those who are lost?
D. FOR SOME, IT IS A LACK OF FAITH...
1. Who don’t believe that God’s Word is true
a. When it describes the sinful condition of the world - Ro 3:23
b. When it describes the terrible consequences of sin - Ro 6:23; Re 21:8
2. Who don’t believe in the ability of God Himself
a. To give them the strength to do God’s will - Ph 4:13
b. To give them the wisdom to teach His Word - Jm 1:5
c. To give them the courage to share His Will - 2 Ti 1:7-8
-- Are we willing to have the faith to trust in God, that others might be saved?
E. FOR SOME, IT IS A LACK OF FOCUS...
1. Distracted by things of the world
a. Stifling our efforts to bear fruit - cf. Lk 8:14
c. Making one unprepared for the day of the Lord - Lk 21:34
2. Trying to do the impossible
a. Such as serving two masters - Lk 16:13
b. Such as loving both the Father and the world - 1 Jn 2:15-17
3. I suspect this is the major reason why people don’t evangelize today
-- Are we willing to seek first the kingdom of God, making its growth our priority?
[Whatever the reason for “The Greatest Need” not being met, there is no excuse.  To encourage us to 
meet this need, consider some reasons...]
III.WHY WE ALL NEED TO BE PERSONAL WORKERS
A. TO FULFILL THE COMMAND OF CHRIST...
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1. Jesus commanded that disciples be made - Mt 28:19
2. Disciples who be taught to observe what He commanded - Mt 28:20
3. He just gave the command to make disciples - Mk 28:19
-- The Great Commission is not fulfilled until we are making disciples!
B. TO SHOW OUR LOVE FOR OTHERS...
1. Love for others was the second greatest commandment of the OT - Mt 22:39
2. Love for one another is debt that can never be fully paid - Ro 13:8
3. We are to love even our enemies - Mt 5:44-45
-- What greater love can we show, than to offer others the way of salvation?
C. TO BE LIKE THE EARLY CHURCH...
1. To be the Lord’s church, we must follow the pattern of congregational:
a. Organization
b. Worship and work
2. To be the Lord’s church, we must also demonstrate the same:
a. Zeal for the Lord’s cause
b. Love for the lost
-- Unless we restore the spirit and soul of NT Christianity, we are only a skeleton!
D. BECAUSE OF THE TERROR OF THE LORD...
1. This served to motivate the apostle Paul - 2 Co 5:10-11
2. Jesus spoke much about souls being lost - cf. Mt 7:13-14,21-23; Mk 16:16
-- The reality of the Judgment Day and souls lost should move us to action!
E. BECAUSE OF THE JOY IN SAVING OTHERS...
1. There is the joy you can cause in heaven - Lk 15:7,10
2. There is the joy you will personally experience
a. Paul refereed to his converts as his ‘glory and joy’ - 1 Th 2:19-20
b. John had ‘no greater joy’ than to see his children walk in truth - 3 Jn 4
-- The joy is magnified knowing that what you do will last for eternity!
CONCLUSION
1. My purpose in this lesson has been twofold; to stress that...
a. The greatest need of the church is to get back to is original mission
b. The greatest need of Christians is to be personal workers in the vineyard of the Lord
2. The current apathy and rate of decline in many churches reveals...
a. There has been a lack of concern, knowledge, courage, faith and focus
b. That this lack has hindered the most important work of the church
3. What can we do...?
a. To ask the question indicates concern.  Good!
b. To that one needs to add knowledge.  Learn!
c. To knowledge one needs to add courage.  Pray!
Then with faith and focus we can work together to fulfill “The Greatest Need”.  Do we have faith?  
Do we have the right focus?  Do we even care...?
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Growing Old Gracefully
INTRODUCTION
1. In speaking about “Growing Old Gracefully”, I feel much like N. B. Hardeman who when
asked to speak on a similar topic...
a. Stated, “I am too young to speak as one should on this subject.”
b. Even though he was in his eighties or nineties at the time!
2. Most young people do not think about “growing old”, which is understandable...
a. For they have yet to experience the reality of “growing old” in the sense of declining in one’s
physical strength and mental capabilities
b. For them getting older has always meant getting better as they draw closer to the peak of their
physical maturity
3. If they talk about “growing old”, it is often with disdain for the way many people spend their golden
years...
a. Discontented with life
b. Set in their ways
c. Bitter towards many people
-- There is often truth in what the young say about the old:  “Some old women and men
grow bitter with age.  The more their teeth drop out the more biting they get.” - George Dennison Prentice
4. This has prompted many young people to say:  “I will never be like that when I get old!”
a. But growing old gracefully does not happen by accident
b. Unless one understands and applies certain principles while young, the chances are great that he
or she will become like the elderly they are quick to despise
-- Think carefully about this statement:  “Most men spend the first half of their lives
making the second half miserable.” - La Bruyere
[How are you spending the first half of your life?  Will you grow old gracefully?  Before we consider 
certain principles conducive to graceful aging, a reminder of...]
I. THE POSSIBILITY OF GROWING OLD GRACEFULLY
A. ILLUSTRATED BY BIBLICAL EXAMPLES...
1. Moses, at the age of 120 (note the vigor of the speeches in Deuteronomy) - Deu 34:7
2. Joshua, as he addressed the elders of Israel (note his conviction) - Josh 24:15
3. Barzillai, the Gileadite (note his gracious hospitality at age eighty) - 2 Sam 19:31-38
4. Dorcas, who helped the poor and widows - Ac 9:36-39
5. The graceful manner in which Paul faced death - 2 Ti 4:6-8, 16-18
6. Peter aged gracefully...
a. Becoming an elder - 1Pe 5:1-2
b. Remaining diligent as death approached - 2Pe 1:13-15
c. Forgiving toward those who rightly rebuked him - 2Pe 3:15; cf. Ga 2:11
B. ILLUSTRATED BY PERSONAL EXAMPLES...
1. One does not need to go to the Bible to find the only examples of people growing old
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gracefully
2. I am sure that we have all known such people
3. I have been blessed to know a number of such people in my life
-- Yes, growing old gracefully is possible!  When it occurs, it is beautiful to behold:
“When grace is joined with wrinkles, it is adorable.  There is an unspeakable dawn
in happy old age.” - Victor Hugo
[Unfortunately, too often wrinkles are joined with grace.  How can we who are young live today so as to 
grow old gracefully, and not pathetically?  There are several principles that when applied can ensure that 
growing old will be a graceful experience...]
II. THE PRINCIPLES OF GROWING OLD GRACEFULLY
A. “WHATEVER A MAN SOWS, THAT HE WILL ALSO REAP...”
1. Stated more fully in Ga 6:7-8, this is true in all areas of life
a. For example, in the physical realm
1) Sow corn, you reap corn
2) Take good care of your body, and you enjoy good health
3) Disregard healthy habits, and the body will suffer for it
b. This is especially so in the spiritual realm
1) “Even as I have seen, Those who plow iniquity And sow trouble reap the same.” 
- Job 4:8 (Eliphaz)
2) Much of the bitterness, discontent, and anger which characterizes many older
people is the result of “sowing to the flesh”
a) Note the works of the flesh (the result of sowing to the flesh) - Ga 5:19-21
b) Contrast the fruit of those who sow to the Spirit - Ga 5:22-23
3) How much better to do as Hosea says:  “Sow with a view to righteousness, Reap in
accordance with kindness;” (NASB) - Hos 10:12
2. Yet the young often say:  “I want to sow my wild oats while I am still young”
a. Then what?  Hope for a crop failure? (Don’t count on it)
b. They fail to realize the harvest of trouble they will reap later in life
1) Abuse their body with sex and drugs, their health will be ruined
2) Engage in sexual immorality...they will ruin their reputation, and make it difficult to
have a normal family life and the joy it ought to bring
c. Consider the sad irony of it all...
1) Most young people do not realize that the popular lifestyle of “doing your own
thing” and “sowing your wild oats” is the very thing that produces the pathetic
mental and physical condition found in many older people!
2) So while they condemn the old for the way they wasted their lives and the way they
turned out, they are headed down the same path of corruption!
-- “He that would pass the latter part of life with honor and decency must, when he is
young, consider that he shall one day be old...” - Samuel Johnson
B. “MAN SHALL NOT LIVE BY BREAD ALONE...”
1. Quoted by Jesus in Mt 4:4, let’s focus our attention on two words:
a. Bread - involves more than just dough; includes all things of a material nature
b. Live - involves more than simple existence; includes living life in its fullest sense, i.e., an
abundant life
-- We must realize one does not find the good life in seeking and acquiring material things 
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- cf. Lk 12:15
2. If we don’t learn this while young, we will waste much of our life pursuing the wrong things,
and hate ourselves for it when we face death’s door
a. Solomon came to this realization - Ec 2:17-23
b. Rosseau, the French philosopher, saw the ungraceful way many old people live out
their later years as the result of learning this truth too late:  “Old men grasp more at life
than babies, and leave it with a much worse grace than young people.  It is because all
their labors having been for this life, they perceive at last their trouble lost.”
3. There is more to life than material things; to grow old gracefully we must realize this and 
find that which makes life full and abundant!
a. Fortunately, Jesus came to help us - Jn 10:10
b. He is the true and living Way! - Jn 14:6
c. And it is the Word of God that shows us the way to Christ - Jn 5:39
1) This illustrates the truth of Mt 4:4
2) The Word of God reveals Christ to us, who in turn shows us how to really life, for
He is the Life!
4. What a shame to go through life, only to find at last our labors were of no lasting value - cf.
Lk 9:25; 12:15-21
C. “BLESSED IS THE MAN WHO FINDS WISDOM...”
1. The word blessed means “happy, rich”
2. Wisdom is insight, understanding, which enables one to make the best use of his or her
talents and circumstances, avoiding the mistakes and pitfalls of life
3. The value of wisdom is:
a. Beautifully proclaimed in Pro 3:13-18
b. Illustrated in Ep 5:15-16
1) The days are evil (the time is short) - cf. Jm 4:13-14
2) Wisdom helps one to utilize to the fullest what little time we have, instead of 
wasting
our precious time
4. Wisdom can be acquired in two ways:
a. Personal experience
1) Which can be very wasteful and time-consuming
2) You can spend much of your life in trial and error, repeating the same mistakes
made by others
3) While you may finally gain wisdom...
a) You have not only wasted much time in the trials
b) You have to bear the consequence of your errors ( you reap what you sow)
b. God and His Word - Pro 2:6
1) What better source, than from He who by wisdom created the universe - Pro 3:
19-20
2) With such wisdom, especially at an early age...
a) Our journey through life will more pleasant and graceful - Pro 3:21-26
b) We can get a head start and soon pass those who learn only through trial and
error - cf. Ps 119:97-100
[With the wisdom found in God’s Word, it is possible to grow old gracefully.  For in it we learn:
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 How to avoid the needless suffering experienced by those reaping the results of 
learning by trial and error
 The true purpose of life is not found in the material things of life, but in that which 
Jesus Christ has to offer!
To help us apply these principles, here are some practical steps based upon Paul’s exhortations to the 
young preacher Timothy...]
III.THE PRACTICE OF GROWING OLD GRACEFULLY
A. BE AN EXAMPLE TO OTHERS...
1. “...be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity.” 
- 1 Ti 4:12
2. There is no way you can avoid being an example to others
a. You will be either be a good example
b. Or you will be an example of what not to be
3. Determine to be an example of those who believe, and this will set you on the right track of
one who grow old gracefully!
B. COMMIT YOURSELF TO THE WORD OF GOD...
1. “Till I come, give attention to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.” - 1 Ti 4:13
2. Commit yourself to studying and teaching the Word of God to others
3. This will assure that you have an open line to God’s wisdom
4. So study the Bible daily, and share what you learn with others!
C. CULTIVATE YOUR TALENTS...
1. “Do not neglect the gift that is in you...” - 1 Ti 4:14
2. The degree to which you reap will be based upon the ability with which you can sow
3. If you want to reap a large harvest of good in this life, develop your talents!
D. APPLY DILIGENCE TO YOUR EFFORTS...
1. “Meditate on these things; give yourself entirely to them, that your progress may be evident
to all.  Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will
save both yourself and those who hear you.” - 1 Ti 4:15-16
2. Growing old gracefully, like many good things, does not happen by accident
3. It takes concentrated effort, so be diligent and persevere!
CONCLUSION
1. “To keep the heart unwrinkled, to be hopeful, kindly, cheerful, reverent--that is to triumph over old
age.” - Thomas Bailey Aldrich
2. Is it possible to triumph over old age, to grow old gracefully?  Yes, for I have seen it happen time
and again!
3. But those of us who are young must realize the experience is reserved for those who...
a. Follow the wisdom of God
b. Understand the abundant life is not found in worldly things
c. Sow in such a way as to bear fruit and reap a harvest leading to eternal life
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4. Such a person will be like those described in Ps 92:12-15...
“The righteous shall flourish like a palm tree, 
He shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon.
Those who are planted in the house of the LORD 
Shall flourish in the courts of our God.
They shall still bear fruit in old age;
They shall be fresh and flourishing,
To declare that the LORD is upright; 
He is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him.”
Don’t you wish to be like that?  By the grace of God you can!  In Christ Jesus you can become a new 
creature (2 Co 5:17), made possible by the washing of regeneration and renewal by the Holy Spirit (Ti 
3:5).  The sooner you begin this new life, the less “baggage” of the old life you will have to contend 
with, and the more you can do for the Lord...
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Heaven Will Surely Be Worth It All
INTRODUCTION
1. There is a song entitled “Heaven Will Surely Be Worth It All”...
a. Words written by W. Oliver Cooper
b. Melody arranged by Minzo C. Jones
-- In “Hymns For Worship”, it is song #253
2. As I sing this song, two main thoughts come to mind...
a. The many sacrifices faithful Christians must often make
b. The glories of heaven and what is to come for those who remain faithful
3. The song proclaims that the rewards will surely be worth whatever the cost...
a. As did Paul, in writing to the Romans - Ro 8:18
b. And again, in writing to the Corinthians - 2 Co 4:17
[Will heaven be worth it all?  Yes!  But it never hurts to be reminded of both the cost and rewards of 
discipleship...]
I. THE COST OF DISCIPLESHIP
A. JESUS MUST COME FIRST...
1. Before one’s own self - Lk 9:23-24
2. Before anyone else, including family - Lk 14:26; Mt 10:34-37
3. Before anything the world has to offer - Lk 9:25; Lk 14:33
B. WE MUST BE WILLING TO SUFFER FOR CHRIST...
1. We must be willing to bear our own cross - Lk 14:27
2. Living in an ungodly world, we may find that following Christ sometimes involves ridicule
and persecution - 2 Ti 3:12
a. The persecution may be physical - 1Pe 4:12-13
b. The persecution may be verbal - Lk 6:27-28
3. Other things we must endure for Christ’s sake:
a. Personal weaknesses in our struggle against sin - 1 Co 9:27
b. Disappointments brought on by failing brethren - 2 Co 11:29
1) E.g., whose apathy and neglect produce slothful service
2) E.g., whose irregular attendance makes it difficult to depend on them
3) E.g., whose unwillingness to serve creates extra burdens on those who do serve
4) E.g., whose murmuring hinders the efforts of those who try to do something
4. Even if blessed to escape such things, we must still be willing to expend time and effort in
promoting the cause of Christ in positive ways
a. Sometimes alone, or with few to help
b. Sometimes in difficult places, where few appreciate your efforts
[Yes, discipleship can be costly.  As the song suggests, we are often “hindered”, “burdened”, with 
“trials, toils and tears” and “many a heartache”.  But the Lord tells us through His Word that “Heaven 
Will Surely Be Worth It All”...]
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II. THE REWARDS OF DISCIPLESHIP
A. FROM THE PEN OF PAUL...
1. A man who endured much hardship - cf. 2 Co 11:23-25
2. Yet looked forward to:
a. A house not made with hands - 2 Co 5:1
b. The riches of God’s grace - Ep 2:7
c. A glorious transformation - Ph 3:20-21
d. A crown of righteousness - 2 Ti 4:8
e. A heavenly kingdom - 2 Ti 4:18
B. FROM THE PEN OF PETER...
1. A man who likewise suffered hardship - cf. 1 Co 4:9-13
2. Yet looked forward to:
a. An inheritance imperishable, undefiled, reserved in heaven - 1Pe 1:4
b. A new heavens and new earth, in which righteousness dwells - 2Pe 3:13-14
C. FROM THE PEN OF JOHN...
1. A man who suffered tribulation and exile - cf. Re 1:9
2. Yet was blessed to be shown:
a. The bliss of those who were triumphant over tribulation - Re 7:9-10,13-17
b. The destiny of the redeemed, forever with God - Re 21:1-7,10-11; 21:22-22:5
CONCLUSION
1. Can there be any comparison...?
a. Between a few years of service, even with hardship?
b. And an eternity of bliss in the presence of God?
-- “Heaven Will Surely Be Worth It All”!
2. We have read the words of those like Paul, Peter, and John...
a. What if they could return and speak to us today?
b. What if our loved ones who died in Christ could return and speak to us today?
-- Would they not tell us, “Heaven Will Surely Be Worth It All”?
Whatever the cost of following Jesus in this life, may the words of this song and the promises of Holy 
Scripture remind and comfort us to be faithful and persevere...
“Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward. For you have 
need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the 
promise:” (He 10:35-36)
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The High Cost Of A Free Gift
INTRODUCTION
1. Perhaps you have heard it said:  “The best things in life are free!”
2. This is especially true when you consider that the “best” thing in life is a gift...
a. I am speaking of that which God offers to all who will accept it:  “eternal life”
b. It is truly a “gift from God”! - cf. Ro 6:23
3. And yet, though eternal life is a gift...
a. A high cost was paid to offer the gift
b. And a high cost must be paid to receive it!
4. A high cost for a free gift?  How can that be?
a. This “paradox” can sometimes be difficult to comprehend
b. However, teachings of Jesus are often found in the form of a “paradox” (e.g., the Beatitudes 
- Mt 5:3-6)
c. Upon closer examination, such “paradoxes” are not really contradictions, but expressions of
very important spiritual truths!
[In this lesson, we shall consider how it is that a gift which is free can be so costly; beginning with...]
I. THE FREE GIFT OF SALVATION
A. MANY HAVE A WRONG CONCEPT ABOUT HOW SALVATION IS  OBTAINED...
1. They think that salvation is earned by the “good works” they do
2. Consider this statement by a devout Muslim:  “All my life I have obeyed the Koran and
worshipped Allah faithfully.  If, after death, I find that there is no paradise and there is no
houris with which a man may be comforted, as the Koran promises, I shall feel that I have
been miserably cheated.”
3. Many professing Christians have a similar concept of attaining heaven, that their  reward is
received because of...
a. Their good life
b. Their generous giving of their money
c. Their faithful attendance at church
B. BUT SALVATION IS GOD’S GIFT TO UNDESERVING MEN...
1. Offered while we were still sinners, ungodly, and enemies - Ro 5:6-8
2. Not because we love God, but because He loved us! - 1 Jn 4:9-10
3. And it is offered to all who will receive it! - cf. Re 21:6; 22:17
[Salvation, then, is offered “freely”.  But does that mean it costs nothing?  Not at all!  Indeed, we shall 
see that nothing in all the universe has cost so much...]
II. THE HIGH COST OF PROVIDING THE GIFT
A. WHAT IT COST THE FATHER... - Jn 3:16; Ro 8:32
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1. It cost Him the sacrifice of His only begotten Son!
2. He did not spare His Son in an effort to save us from our sins!
B. WHAT IT COST THE SON... - Ph 2:5-8
1. It cost Him the renunciation of glory and majesty, which He had with the Father before
coming to this world
2. It cost Him the humiliation of servitude, even to the point suffering and finally dying by
crucifixion for our sins
C. WHAT IT COST THE HOLY SPIRIT... - 2 Th 2:13-14; Ep 4:30
1. A ministry through the ages of patiently wooing the stubborn hearts of sinful men through 
the
call of the gospel
2. Suffering long with men who treat Him ill, being grieved with they resist Him
[Each Person of the triune Godhead has paid dearly to make the gift of salvation possible.  So certainly 
from the viewpoint of its “provision”, we can see the “high cost of a free gift”.  But the “acceptance” of 
this free gift is also costly...]
III.THE HIGH COST OF ACCEPTING THE GIFT
A. IT COSTS THE DENIAL OF SELF, AND THE RENUNCIATION OF MUCH THAT
MEN HOLD DEAR...
1. Paul, who gladly paid the cost, expressed it vividly in several passages - Gal 2:20; Ph 3:
7-8
2. One cannot accept Christ and His salvation on lesser terms than the complete surrender of
self to Him!
B. THIS IS WHAT MAKES THE GOSPEL OF CHRIST “A HARD GOSPEL” FOR
MANY TO ACCEPT...
1. They want to accept Jesus as Savior, but not as Lord of their lives
a. Some even suggest that accepting Jesus as Savior and as Lord as two entirely separate
acts
b. But the two are inseparable - cf. Lk 2:11; Ac 2:36; 10:36
c. Even religious leaders who have led people to think otherwise are beginning to see the
error of their ways:  “The church today is paralyzed at the moment of its supreme
opportunity because we have committed the blasphemy of insisting that what is so costly
for God shall come easy to us.  We haven’t dared face our congregations with a hard
gospel.”  - Dr. Paul Calvin Payne, General Secretary, the Board of Christian
Education, Presbyterian Church
2. None can accept Jesus as “Savior of his soul” without accepting Him as “Lord of his life”!
a. Jesus Himself made this clear when He warned His hearers that the cost of discipleship
is high - Lk 14:25-33
b. The lordship of Jesus over self, life, and possessions must be acknowledged if we are to
know Him as Savior!
3. People must realize that Jesus commission His disciples to preach “repentance and
remission of sins in His name” - Lk 24:47
a. There is no remission apart from repentance!
b. And repentance involves the whole life! - cf. 2 Co 7:10-11
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1) Not only sorrow for the past, that leads to repentance
2) But zeal and fervor for the future, that affects how we will live
c. Repentance is therefore the abandoning of our own selfish way, to go God’s way in
obedience and fellowship with Him
C. “JUST ACCEPT CHRIST AND BE SAVED” IS THE APPEAL OF MANY...
1. And many people assume that it is a matter of “just accepting” Him, “with no strings
attached”
2. However, consider the words of Jesus Himself - cf. Jn 14:21,23
3. To “receive Jesus”, then, requires a full surrender to the lordship of Christ, a sincere
acceptance of His commandments - cf. Jn 15:10
CONCLUSION
1. That is why the “gift” of salvation, while offered freely, still comes a with high cost...
a. Salvation cannot be earned, nor merited, by any amount of good deeds
b. For even after a lifetime of diligent obedience we are still “unworthy servants” - cf. Lk 17:10
c. But the Lordship of Jesus rightly demands a full surrender to His authority - cf. Mt 28:18-20
2. Yes, the gift of salvation is costly...
a. It cost God more than heaven can declare
b. It cost Jesus the agony and shame of the cross
c. Even today it costs the Holy Spirit who seeks to woo you through the gospel
d. And it costs everyone who truly receives it the total submission of self to the rightful claims of
Jesus on the lives and souls of all who would be His for time and eternity!
Jesus has paid the high cost to offer you the gift of salvation...have you paid the high cost of accepting 
it? - cf. Ac 2:36-39
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Honk! - Lessons From Geese
INTRODUCTION
1. The Scriptures often point to nature for illustration and wisdom…
a. Solomon directed the sluggard to consider the ant - Pr 6:6-11
b. Jesus said to look at the birds, consider the lilies - Mt 6:26-28
2. Found on the Internet are facts and lessons we can learn from geese…
a. By Robert McNeish, former Assoc. Superintendent of Baltimore Public Schools, 1972
b. That can be applied to our relationships with one another in the church
[For example, consider our first lesson from geese…]
I. GEESE PRACTICE SYNERGY
A. FACT…
1. As each goose flaps its wings it creates an “uplift” for the birds that follow
2. By flying in a “V” formation, the whole flock adds 71% greater flying range than if each bird 
flew alone
B. LESSON…
1. People who share a common direction and sense of community can get where they are going
quicker and easier because they are traveling on the thrust of one another - McNeish
2. This is the principle of synergy:  two or more agents working together to produce a result not 
obtainable by any of the agents independently (e.g., nitrogen + glycerin)
3. Which explains the Biblical practice of two by two - Mk 6:7; Lk 10:1; Ac 13:2; cf. Ec 4:9
[Do we appreciate the wisdom of “flocking together”?  Closely related is lesson two…]
II. GEESE BENEFIT FROM MUTUAL EDIFICATION
A. FACT…
1. When a goose falls out of formation, it suddenly feels the drag and resistance of flying alone
2. It quickly moves back into formation to take advantage of the lifting power of the bird 
immediately in front of it
B. LESSON…
1. If we have as much sense as a goose we stay in formation with those headed where we want 
to go - McNeish
2. We are willing to accept their help and give our help to others - ibid.
3. Strong Christians appreciate the value of mutual edification - He 3:12-14; 10:24-25
[Mutual edification occurs within the context of a local church.  Whereas a group of geese are called 
either a skein (inflight) or gaggle (on ground), a group of Christians is called a church.  Next…]
III.GEESE SHARE THE BURDEN
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A. FACT…
1. When the lead goose tires, it rotates back into the formation and another goose flies to the 
point position
2. Similar to pace lining in bicycling
B. LESSON…
1. It pays to take turns doing the hard tasks and sharing leadership - McNeish
2. As with geese, people are interdependent on each other’s skills, capabilities and unique 
arrangements of gifts, talents or resources - ibid.
3. As members of the body of Christ, we are to do our part - Ep 4:16
[Too often, brethren “burn out” because other brethren won’t “help out”.  How about you?  Are you 
doing your part in the work of the local church?  On to lesson four…]
IV.GEESE ENCOURAGE THOSE WHO LEAD
A. FACT…
1. The geese flying in formation honk to encourage those up front to keep up their speed
2. It is unlikely to be complaining that they are going the wrong way <grin>
B. LESSON…
1. We need to make sure honking is encouraging - McNeish
2. In groups where there is encouragement the production is much greater - ibid.
3. The power of encouragement (to stand by one’s heart or core values and encourage the heart
and core of others) is the quality of honking we seek - ibid.
4. Such should be purpose of our words (honking), to build others up - Ep 4:29; Col 4:6
[To give a bumper sticker another meaning:  “Honk, if you love Jesus” (and His brethren).  Lastly…]
V. GEESE CARE FOR ONE ANOTHER
A. FACT…
1. When a goose gets sick, wounded, or shot down, two geese drop out of formation and follow
it down to help and protect it
2. They stay with it until it dies or is able to fly again
3. Then, they launch out with another formation or catch up with the flock
B. LESSON…
1. If we have as much sense as geese, we will stand by each other in difficult times as well as 
when we are strong - McNeish
2. Another benefit in working together, a duty of spiritual brethren - cf. Ec 4:10; Ga 6:1-2
CONCLUSION
1. By instinct, God gave geese the wisdom to succeed in their flight and migration
2. By His Word, and by His Creation, God gives us wisdom to succeed in our spiritual journey!
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How Much Should I Give?
INTRODUCTION
1. During His earthly ministry, Jesus challenged His disciples to give...
a. As recorded by Luke - Lk 6:38; cf. 12:13-34
b As stated by Paul - Ac 20:33-35
2. In his epistles, Paul commanded Christians to give...
a. To lay by in store weekly, for the needs of the saints - 1 Co 16:1-2
b. To work, so that we might give to those in need - Ep 4:28
c. To be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share - 1 Ti 6:17-19
d. To do good and share - He 13:16
3. A question that often comes up is “How Much Should I Give?”...
a. The Law of Moses was very explicit (tithing commanded of Israel)
b. The New Covenant is not as explicit (there is no command for Christians to tithe)
[Yet Christians are not left without assistance regarding giving.  Consider first that we have...]
I. EXAMPLES TO INSPIRE US
A. FROM THE OLD TESTAMENT...
1. Abraham gave a tithe (ten percent) to Melchizedek - Gen 14:20
2. Jacob promised to give a tenth to God on his safe return - Gen 28:20-22
3. Israel’s freewill offerings for the tabernacle - Exo 35:4-5,21,29; 36:5-7
4. David and Israel’s freewill offerings for the temple - 1 Chr 29:3,9-15
5. Israel’s tithing to God
a. One tenth to the Levites (who in turn gave a tenth to the priests) - Num 18:21-28
b. One tenth for the festive celebration - Deu 12:5-18
c. One tenth every third year for the poor - Deu 14:28-29
6. Israel’s guidelines for the land
a. Leave that which grows of itself in the seventh year to the poor - Exo 23:10-11
b. Allow people to satisfy their hunger - Deu 23:24-25; cf. Lk 6:1
c. Leave the corners and gleanings for the poor - Lev 19:9-10; Deu 24:19-22
7. The Lord’s release:  debt release for the poor every seventh year - Deu 15:1-4
-- The Old Testament provided Israel with a rich history of giving, though some did
not give as they should - cf. Mal 3:8-10
B. FROM THE NEW TESTAMENT...
1. Zacchaeus, who gave half to the poor - Lk 19:8
2. The widow and her two mites - Lk 21:1-4
3. The meticulous tithing of the Pharisees - cf. Mt 23:23
4. The Christians in Jerusalem - Ac 2:44-45; 4:34-35
5. Barnabas, who sold land - Ac 4:36-37
6. The disciples in Antioch - Ac 11:27-30
7. The churches in Macedonia and Achaia - Ro 15:25-26; 2 Co 8:1-5
8. The brethren in Philippi, who helped Paul once and again - Ph 1:3-5; 4:14-18
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-- The New Testament provides us with a rich history of giving, the greatest example
being the gift of Jesus Christ - cf. Jn 3:16; 2 Co 8:9
[With such examples to inspire to us, we should want to give!  But again we ask, “How Much Should I 
Give?”  Instead of any set percentage (e.g., ten percent), in the New Testament we have...]
II. PRINCIPLES TO GUIDE US
A. AS WE PROSPER...
1. Paul charged Christians to give as they prosper - 1 Co 16:1-2
2. He instructed them to give according to what they have - 2 Co 8:12-13
-- Our giving should be in keeping with the level of our prosperity
B. SEEK TO EXCEL...
1. Paul called for Christians to abound (excel, ESV)  in the grace of giving - 2 Co 8:7
2. With God’s aid, we can abound in every good work - 2 Co 9:8-10
3. Jesus tells us to surpass the righteousness of the Pharisees (remember their meticulous
tithing?) - Mt 5:20; cf. Mt 23:23
-- If the Pharisees gave tithes (actually 20-30%), do we surpass them by giving any
less?
C. DO SO WILLINGLY...
1. There must be a willing mind prompting our giving - 2 Co 8:12
2. We cannot give with a grudging obligation or of necessity - 2 Co 9:5,7
-- We must give because we want to, not because we have to
D. AIM FOR EQUALITY...
1. Paul did not expect others to be eased at our expense - 2 Co 8:13
2. Rather, that our abundance supply others’ lack - 2 Co 8:14
3. Moving in the direction of more equality between brethren - 2 Co 8:14-15
-- Giving should be in the direction of the greater to the lesser (both as individuals
and as congregations)
E. SOW BOUNTIFULLY...
1. Again, our giving should seek to excel (abound) - 2 Co 8:7
2. If you sow bountifully, you will reap bountifully - 2 Co 9:6
3. Not for personal gain, but to abound for even more good works - 2 Co 9:8-10
-- Seek to give bountifully, that you might give even more!
F. GIVE PURPOSELY...
1. Each one is to give as they purpose in their heart - 2 Co 9:7
2. That is, with careful planning and intention, not as an afterthought
-- Budget beforehand to give purposely and willingly (see below)
G. WITH CHEERFULNESS...
1. God loves a cheerful giver - 2 Co 9:7
2. Giving cannot be with a begrudging spirit, or sense of obligation
-- If we cannot give cheerfully, then our giving is not acceptable to God!
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[These principles are the guidelines that are given the Christian to govern his or her giving.  They are 
more than adequate to guide us to give as we should.  But in the spirit of He 10:24, here are some...]
III.SUGGESTIONS TO STIMULATE US
A. MANY SUGGEST AT LEAST TEN PERCENT...
1. This is often suggested as a bare minimum
a. Yet even the Pharisees gave 20-30 percent to the Lord and to the poor!
b. Paul appealed to the example of sacrificial giving (Macedonians and the Lord) when he
sought to motivate the Corinthians to give - 2 Co 8:1-9
2. Consider these statistics (taken from GenerousGiving.org)...
a. The average donation by adults who attend U.S. Protestant churches is about $17/wk
b. Among church members of 11 primary Protestant denominations (or their historical
antecedents) in the United States and Canada, per-member giving as a percentage of
income was lower in 2000 than in either 1921 or 1933
1) In 1921, per-member giving as a percentage of income was 2.9 percent
2) In 1933, at the depth of the Great Depression, per-member giving grew to 3.3
percent 
3) By 2000, after a half-century of unprecedented prosperity, giving had fallen to 2.6
percent
c. Overall, only 3 to 5 percent of Americans who donate money to a church tithe (give a
tenth of) their incomes though many more claim to do so
-- We have so much for which to be thankful; should we give any less than what
God’s people gave in the past?
B. BUDGET OUR GIVING...
1. We must give as we have purposed in our hearts - 2 Co 9:7
2. As we prosper, plan our budgets accordingly
a. Include a special place in our budgets for our planned giving
b. To follow the principle of giving God the first fruits, calculate our giving on pretax
amounts, not on what is left after the government takes its share - Pro 3:9
3. Budget not just what we give to the church, but to others as well - cf. Ga 6:10
a. E.g., 8 percent for the church
b. E.g., 2Percent for other charitable giving
-- Cheerful giving is easy when we have already set aside what we planned to give
C. SEEK TO EXCEL IN THE GRACE OF GIVING...
1. Certainly when we sow bountifully, we reap bountifully - 2 Co 9:6
2. God is willing to multiply the seed we have sown and increase the fruits of our
righteousness, that we might have an abundance for every good work - 2 Co 9:8-10
3. As income increases, why not increase the percentage of giving on additional income?
a. E.g., 10% on the first 30K, 15% on the next 10K, 20% on the next 10K, etc.
b. Or increase the overall percentage of your giving by 1% more each year
4. When we are enriched for all liberality (i.e., blessed to give more), it produces much
thanksgiving to God by those who are the beneficiaries of our giving) - 2 Co 9:11-14
-- We should seek to excel in giving, to increase thanksgiving and praise to God by
those who see the work of God’s grace in our lives!
CONCLUSION
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1. “How Much Should I Give?” is not an easy question to answer...
a. There is no set percentage given to Christians in the New Testament
b. It is really between you and God as to how much you should give
2. But we have considered in this lesson...
a. Examples to inspire us
b. Principles to guide us
c. Suggestions to stimulate us
3. Based on the above, my personal recommendations are these...
a. Budget your giving to the Lord and to the poor, making it a priority item in your budget
b. Start out by giving ten percent of your gross income
c. Gradually increase the rate of your giving as your income increases
d. Give, not to be seen of men, but to glorify your Father in heaven - cf. Mt 5:16; 6:1-4
e. Give, not to earn salvation, but to lay up treasure in heaven - cf. Ti 3:4-7;1 Ti 6:17-19; Mt 6:
19-20
Have you given much thought lately to how much you should give?  I hope in some way I have 
encouraged you to consider how you might excel in the grace of giving...
But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows 
bountifully will also reap bountifully. 
So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God 
loves a cheerful giver. 
And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all 
sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.
- 2 Co 9:6-8 
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How Well Do You Listen?
INTRODUCTION
1. During His earthly ministry, Jesus often concluded a lesson by crying out, “He who has ears to
hear, let him hear!”
a. E.g., concerning John the Baptist - Mt 11:15
b. E.g., the parable of the sower - Mt 13:9
c. E.g., the explanation of the parable of the tares - Mt 13:43
2. In His letters to the churches of Asia, Jesus concludes each with a similar saying:  “He who has an
ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” - Re 2:7,11,17,29; 3:6,13,22
3. What is the point of these sayings?
a. It is akin to saying “What is being said is very important, so you had better pay attention and
listen!” - cf. Mk 4:23-25
b. It illustrates that Jesus had a problem that often exists today
1) Many people simply don't listen
2) Or don't listen so as to understand
4. I am convinced that many today don't appreciate the importance of listening well...
a. It concerned Jesus...
b. So I believe it is appropriate to ask, “How Well Do You Listen?”
[It might be profitable to begin by pointing out there are...]
I. THREE TYPES OF LISTENERS
A. THE DULL OF HEARING...
1. Some of the Hebrew Christians were like this - cf. He 5:11
a. When a person has this problem, it is hard for others to explain things to them!
b. The fault is not with the subject material, nor the presenter, but with the listener!
2. Isaiah wrote of such people, and Jesus applied it to many in His day - Mt 13:13-15
a. People are this way because they are dull of heart!
b. This prevents them from:
1) Understanding God's truth
2) Turning from sin to God
3) And being healed (saved) by God!
-- Who would want to be this type of listener?
B. THOSE WITH ITCHING EARS...
1. Paul describes these in 2 Ti 4:3-4
2. Such people listen only to that which is pleasing