What About Your Message?

Great emphasis is placed upon the message given by the preacher during the church’s worship services. Rightly so I suppose. But have you ever stopped to think about how easily the “preacher’s message” gets outnumbered even if only two or three of the saints come together?

Parents preach a message to their children every time they intentionally miss the worship services.

A message gets preached to our “neighbor” sitting near us every time we refuse to sing or flippantly observe communion.

Elders preach a message when they fail to tend the flock that they’re responsible for.

Oh yes, we all preach a message at every worship service of the church – and most of the time we do it without even speaking a word. And when we think about it like this, we’ll always get the last word with the preacher. EA

In this the children of God and the children of the devil are manifest: Whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is he who does not love his brother. For this is the message that you heard from the beginning, that we should love one another,1 John 3:10-11

5 Ways to Persuade Others

With warnings of the judgment:

For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are well known to God, and I also trust are well known in your consciences.“(2 Corinthians 5:10-11)

With a personal example:

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. Now I myself am confident concerning you, my brethren, that you also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another.” (Romans 15:13-14)

With the promise of life:

Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God, who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began, but has now been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, to which I was appointed a preacher, an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles. For this reason I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day.” (2 Timothy 1:8-12)

With the love of God:

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written: “For Your sake we are killed all day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.” Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:31-39)

And with the good news:

Therefore let it be known to you, brethren, that through this Man is preached to you the forgiveness of sins; and by Him everyone who believes is justified from all things from which you could not be justified by the law of Moses. Beware therefore, lest what has been spoken in the prophets come upon you: ‘Behold, you despisers, marvel and perish! For I work a work in your days, a work which you will by no means believe, though one were to declare it to you.’” So when the Jews went out of the synagogue, the Gentiles begged that these words might be preached to them the next Sabbath. Now when the congregation had broken up, many of the Jews and devout proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas, who, speaking to them, persuaded them to continue in the grace of God. On the next Sabbath almost the whole city came together to hear the word of God.” (Acts 13:38-44)

These ways worked to convert a dying world in the past, and these ways still work to help persuade the perishing today. EA  

Now as he thus made his defense, Festus said with a loud voice, “Paul, you are beside yourself! Much learning is driving you mad!” But he said, “I am not mad, most noble Festus, but speak the words of truth and reason. For the king, before whom I also speak freely, knows these things; for I am convinced that none of these things escapes his attention, since this thing was not done in a corner. King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know that you do believe.” Then Agrippa said to Paul, “You almost persuade me to become a Christian.” And Paul said, “I would to God that not only you, but also all who hear me today, might become both almost and altogether such as I am, except for these chains.”” Acts 26:24-29

There is no Grace without Law

One of the greatest misunderstandings about God’s New Covenant that people live under today is that this covenant is all grace and no law.

Now let me quickly say, on top of the fact that the Law of Moses is no longer in effect spiritually (Hebrews 8:6-7, 13), that I completely agree that the Bible teaches that no one is justified by the works alone of any law, because once a law is violated all a law can do is condemn (Acts 13:38-39; Romans 3:19-20; Galatians 2:16). But let me also quickly say I completely disagree with anyone who believes that this situation means we are no longer under any law today because of God’s grace (Romans 6:14-16).

As Christians we are indeed under law today. For example, there is:

  • the law of faith – “Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? Of works? No, but by the law of faith.” (Romans 3:27)
  • the law of Christ – “to those who are without law, as without law (not being without law toward God, but under law toward Christ, that I might win those who are without law;” (1 Corinthians 9:21)
  • the law of the Spirit – “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.” (Romans 8:1-2)
  • the law of liberty – “For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all. For He who said, “Do not commit adultery,” also said, “Do not murder.” Now if you do not commit adultery, but you do murder, you have become a transgressor of the law. So speak and so do as those who will be judged by the law of liberty. For judgment is without mercy to the one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.” (James 2:10-13)

More could be said, but enough should be enough and enough has been said to help us see the truth of God’s will concerning law and sin and grace.

You see, there can be law without grace, but there can be no grace without law because without law there is no need for grace (Galatians 6:1-3). EA

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us…My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous…Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness.” (1 John 1:9-10, 2:1, 3:4)

That coat of many colors is now one

Joseph’s coat of many colors; people have tried to envision what it would have looked like and the only thing I can say is that it must have stood out from all the other coats.

Joseph’s coat was a symbol of his father’s love, but his father’s love became something that his brothers hated. And no matter how much that coat cost Jacob, in the eyes of Joseph’s brothers that sign of love would end up costing Joseph.

Likewise, our spiritual Father has given us a coat to wear – a coat that is a symbol of his love, a coat of one color (John 3:16); but we must remember that as this coat stands out from all other coats people will hate it and it will cost us, but we must continue to wear it as a reminder of who we are to our Father (John 15:18-19; 1 John 3:13). EA

For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.” (Galatians 3:26-27)

“…So he said to me, “These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” (Revelation 7:14)

There are going to be times when the preacher just won’t win…with people

“‘Preacher, shoot it straight’ – as long as you’re not shooting at me, my spouse, my children or my parents. But other than that, ‘Keep shooting preacher man.'”

There are going to be times when the preacher just won’t win…with people.

Oh yeah, those times when silence during a certain situation gets looked upon by some with contempt, while speaking up during the same situation garners the same amount of contempt from others. It’s true: it’s the ole’ “condemned if you do and condemned if you don’t” situation, to put it nicely. This is why the preacher’s goal must not be to win with people during every situation, because that goal will miss the goal the majority of the time.

So think about that the next time you feel like the preacher took a personal shot at you, when all he was doing was speaking the truth for your benefit in a way that’s probably not as personal as you think (1 Corinthians 10:32-33; Galatians 1:10). EA

I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: Preach the word! Be ready in seasonand out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.” (2 Timothy 4:1-4)

Related Article:

An Open Letter to my Erring brothers and sisters in Christ

“I just don’t have the time.” “I will one of these days.” “I’m not quite feeling up to getting out.” “I’m always working.”

These sentiments, and others similar to them, are the responses that get expressed to me time and time again when I tell an erring brother or sister in Christ that I’ve been missing them at worship services. And while I don’t question the sincerity of the absentee’s answers, I do question the consistency, or the lack thereof, of absences from other areas of life.

For example, when I tell people that I have been missing them I’m telling them because I see them:

  • at the grocery store
  • at the bank
  • at the hospital
  • at gas stations
  • at restaurants
  • at their job
  • at the funeral home
  • at local sporting/community events

For some reason worship can’t fit into their schedule, but these can?

Now some of you may say those are necessities – a person can’t stop doing those! And to that I would say don’t confuse what’s being doing with what needs to be done.

Oh erring one, remember your father; come back to where you need to be (Luke 15:18-24). EA

And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.” (Hebrews 10:24-25)

The key to…

Everybody is looking for the key to something. And there are plenty of sellers out there!

The key to happiness, to fame and fortune, to a good job, to a new house, to a new car, to marital bliss, to good health and even to the right fantasy football picks seem to be the keys that most seek to have on their key-ring, but eventually all of these keys are found to be exactly what they are – keys that open temporary doors.

Of all the doors that the world offers to open there is one door that causes them to close, and that door is death. But the good news of God proclaims to provide the very key that the world only dreams of. This key cannot be bought, nor is it being sold; but this key comes at a cost, and we must decide if we’re interested in listening to the only one who has this key on his ring (Isaiah 22:20-25, Revelation 3:17). EA

And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. But He laid His right hand on me, saying to me, “Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last. I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death.” (Revelation 1:17-18)