I am preparing a series of lesson for the Franklin County Church of Christ for a gospel meeting in March. The theme of the meeting is “ARE YOU FULLY DEVOTED?” I ask that you pray for me and the church in Franklin County that I might encourage and edify the church there, as I hope to do here.
I have been doing a great deal of study on this, and as I continue my studies, I am more convinced and convicted that I and the church need to get back to the business at hand – teaching the gospel to the lost and encouraging the saved to greater action and faithfulness. Satan has distracted us for far too long. We are losing members as the church grows older, we have lost many of our young people to the world, and our commitment is . . . well, lacking. Churches are closing their doors every year. Some have, perhaps, thought, taught and believed that Christianity is something done in the church building, and if we get that taken care of, then we have fulfilled our obligations to the Lord. There is so much more to being a Christian than just worshipping the Lord on Sundays. Consider . . .
How important is Jesus in your life?
Can people look at us and tell that Jesus and His church (the people) are important to us?
How devoted are we to carry out the great commission?
Have we shed tears for the lost? For our children, grandchildren and unfaithful members who have walked away from the church?
How important is worship to you? How often do you attend? Are you being spiritually fed? Are you willing to help teach others younger than you so that they may grow in the grace and knowledge of God (2Peter 3:18)? Are you growing as a Christian, or are you static, or even stale? What do you need to do to break out of this “rut” and draw closer to God?
How committed to Jesus are we? Is this more of a personal thing, or do we owe it to one another to encourage, exhort, edify and lovingly rebuke in an effort to get souls to God.
Do we have a close-knit fellowship? Do we spend time with one another at places others than the building? Do we share in one another’s lives?
Finally, in an interesting study I came across this week among some denominations, some have found that the “Millenials,” “Generation X” and “Generation Zs” are no longer seeking huge churches to attend, but desire smaller churches, closer fellowship and spiritual worship. We lament the idea of how many we are not coming into our buildings, but perhaps this may be the pattern of the future. We need to make our worship services, first of all, glorifying to God by doing his will, worshipping him in the way he has said, and honoring Him above all. We must be encouraging to one another, and especially make this a time of fellowship and communion with our Father and our family. We must worship Him in the way God intends and honor him as we seek to do his will.
CROSSES 20% OFF
This was the lead caption of an ad last week by one of our jewelry stores. “Crosses at a discount” seem to summarize the spirit of many today. Yet Jesus taught that a disciple has to pay “full price” for his cross.
The cost of being a disciple is a warning that Jesus gave again and again: “Count the cost,” he said. The time has come for us to uphold the high standards of our Lord – not lower them.
Jesus said, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9:23). Everyday every one of us who claims to be a Christian should recall:
- 1.“If any man will. . .” Being a Christian begins with an act of decision. A definite, dominate, determined passion that fills one’s life.
- 2. “let him deny HIMSELF:” Being a Christian calls for a spirit of unselfishness. Pride rejects God’s way for my way. There is no thought more at cross purposes with disciples that the popular song, “I Did It My Way . . . “
- 3.“take up his cross daily. . .” Being a Christian requires a habit of sacrifice. Compared to Jesus everyone can say, as David Livingston said, “I have never made a sacrifice.” The steadfastness of daily being involved in what becomes dull routine is, in my opinion, a “sacrifice” that one must bear. The delights of joy come from daily commitments.
- 4.“And follow me.” Being a Christian is clearly shown in a life of service. Service is seldom painted as spectacular. Day after day you do certain things because you love the Lord.
You want to follow Jesus? GREAT! But remember there are no discounts — crosses do not come with 20% off.
“Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were a present far too small;
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.”
“And WHOSOEVER does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.” (Luke 14:27)
Jim Moffett. The Raleigh Memorandum 12 12 1985
ARE YOU FIXING LIGHT BULBS?
“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.” Matthew 28:19-20
What is your main aim, your purpose in life? What are you emphasizing as a Christian? Do you find it easy to forget, to be sidetracked?
It was Flight 401 bound for Miami from New York City with a load of holiday passengers. As the huge aircraft approached the Miami airport for its landing, a light that indicates proper deployment of the landing gear failed to come on. The plane flew in a large, looping circle over the swamps of the Everglades while the cockpit crew checked out the light failure. Their question was this, had the landing gear actually not deployed or was it just the light bulb that was defective.
To begin with, the flight engineer fiddled with the bulb. He tried to remove it, but it wouldn’t budge. Another member of the crew tried to help out, and then another. Finally, if you can believe it, all eyes were on the little bulb that refused to be dislodged from its socket. No one noticed that the plane was losing altitude. Finally, it dropped right into a swamp. Many were killed when the plane crashed. While an experienced crew of high priced and seasoned pilots messed around with a seventy-five-cent light bulb, an entire airplane and many of its passengers were lost. The crew momentarily forgot the most basic of all rules of the air, “Don’t forget to fly the airplane.”
What is your main mission in life?
How can you be sure to remember it?
The Lord has given us a reminder each week as we eat the Lord’s Supper. Ask these questions to bring your life back into focus.
Why did Jesus live?
Why did he die?
What was His main mission while on earth?
What are His commands to us while on earth?
How did the early church react to his instructions?
Am I doing the same thing today?
How will I live differently this week?
Am I fixing light bulbs or flying the airplane?”
Jerrie Barber Central Church of Christ 10/16/ 1986