INTRO: This is not going to be a sermon of the sort I would usually preach on a Lords day. In fact, this may not be a sermon at all - it may be just thoughts, just reflections, just thinking. I have some things on my mind for which I humbly ask your patient attention. Please know that these are things which are deep concerns for the well being of each person who is part of this congregation of saints. These are things of which I have been thinking for some considerable time and which I would hope are concerns shared by many with me. So, I begin with this:
I. WHAT ABOUT BIBLE CLASS ATTENDANCE - SUNDAY MORNINGS?
A. Sunday is the only day I can sleep in
B. I already know all of that
C. I dont see an interesting subject
D. I just dont want to be bothered about attending Bible classes
E. So, I wonder ...
1. is the sleeping in just an excuse for not attending?
2. if you already know all of what might be taught, does your absence become an excuse for someone else, who may not know everything, to not attend?
3. if there is not an interesting subject, could your attendance in a class help make it interesting? be and encouragement to teachers and students?
4. I wonder what not wanting to be bothered says about our love for the Lord and His word? about our concern for others?
II. WHAT ABOUT SUNDAY MORNING ASSEMBLIES?
A. Well, I do come
B. Please promise me a seat in the rear so I can slip away before anyone notices
C. Why is it always so cold? so hot?
D. Why does the worship service always take so long?
E. I have so much to do this afternoon - an hour is all I can spare out of the day
F. So, I wonder ...
1. do we give much thought to why we have come?
2. does the back seat and slipping away mean you dont want to be involved - that people are offensive in some way? what does it mean, really?
3. have you given any thought to how many things have to be done by someone in order for us to assemble? does thinking about things like hot and cold mean we are not thinking about the songs, the prayers, the Lords death, the thoughts of the lesson, the reason for giving?
4. the length of the service? can you sit through a ball game? a concert? a play? a graduation? why can we not spend a few quiet, involved minutes in worship & praise?
5. do we tend to plan our Sundays with leftovers for the Lord?
III. WHAT ABOUT SUNDAY EVENING ASSEMBLIES?
A. Well, the Bible doesnt say I have to come more than once
B. I really need the afternoon and evening for ...
C. I just really dont see the need
D. So, I wonder ...
1. what does the Bible say about encouraging, etc. through assemblies?
2. have we turned the Lords day into our day? has this day become so secular that our many activities squeeze out spiritual interests, emphases?
3. are any of us such spiritual giants that we have no need of all the opportunities we can use to grow in Christ? does our not seeing the need to worship, study, praise, encourage reflect on a lack of true depth of devotion?
IV. AND WHAT ABOUT WEDNESDAY EVENING?
A. Im just too tired after a long day at work
B. Wednesday evening assemblies are just a man made tradition
C. Our children go to bed early
D. So, I wonder ...
1. I can appreciate weariness - but is there not some energizing value to a period of study, of fellowship, etc.?
2. midweek assemblies my be in the category of tradition - but are there traditions that are scriptural and beneficial?
3. I am sympathetic with parents - but I wonder if making the exception in order to meet with the saints, etc. wouldnt give emphasis to the faith and conviction of our young as they grow?
V. SOME PASSAGES WHICH KEEP COMING TO MY MIND ...
A. Mal 1:6 - ...where is mine honor...where is my fear
B. Mt 6:33- ...seek ye first the kingdom of God....
C. Lk 14:33 - ...that forsaketh not all that he hath...
D. Mk 8:34 - ...let him deny himself...
E. Mk 12:30 - ...with all thy heart...
CLOSE: You know, of course, that it is only from a heart of love for you that I would pose such questions. I ask, and fervently, that you take inventory ... that you dwell for a time on the passages I have mentioned. And let us grow more mature together.
Cecil A. Hutson
14 September 2003
You Must Hear the Gospel
You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)
You Must Believe
You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)
You Must Repent
You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)
You Must Confess
You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)
You Must Be Baptized
Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!
You Must Be Faithful Unto Death
Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)