What does a preacher at a local congregation preach following a dynamic Gospel Meeting at that congregation? The simple answer is, he preaches the gospel! But how does he follow up on the preaching done during that Gospel Meeting? How does he complement it, reinforce it in the preaching that he does over the next few weeks? This is always a challenging situation.
In anticipation of strong, fundamental preaching by Brother Brinkley during our Gospel Meeting a few weeks ago, I planned to present a series of lessons asking the question, "Are You Listening?" I intended this series to be something of a natural follow up to the theme of the Gospel Meeting, which was, simply, "The Gospel Of Christ." The series is based on the text of Proverbs 1:28-33. God warned that some would call on Him, but He would not answer; they would seek Him diligently, but they would not find Him. The reason for God's negative response to them was their failure to listen to His teachings. Conversely, He stated, "But whoever listens to Me will dwell safely, and will be secure, without fear of evil."
Is your spiritual life where you want it to be? Would you like to grow spiritually? Are you listening to God as to what you need to do to see that you do grow spiritually?
Obviously, faith is at the basis of spiritual strength. Where does faith come from, how does it develop within a person and grow stronger? "So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God" (Romans 10:17). If you want to be a person of strong faith, you need to diligently study God's word. Paul exhorts, "Be diligent ("study" KJV) to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth" (2 Timothy 2:15). How much time do you spend reading God's word?
How's your church attendance? That aspect of your Christian life is also basic to your spiritual well being. In a familiar text (Hebrews 10:23-25), the writer addresses spiritual strength from two perspectives. First, he admonishes, "Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering..." That's a descriptive way of saying, let's stay strong in our faith. The address of the second perspective is, "And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works." In other words, we are to consider how we can help our brothers and sisters in Christ be strong in their faith. Of course, it's reciprocal; as we contribute to their spiritual strength, they also contribute to ours.
The avenue offered in the text for meeting our personal need for spiritual growth, and that in our fellow Christians, is being at church services together. We gain personally from the worship and study engaged in during the assemblies of the church. And, being together at those assemblies affords us the opportunity to be in a setting wherein we can encourage our brothers and sisters in Christ in their spiritual growth, and they in ours.
Do you want to grow spiritually? Are you listening to what God's word teaches you as to how you ensure your spiritual growth? These are easy to understand, fundamental steps to take. Are you taking them???
Gary L. Hutchens