If a congregation of God’s people are to flourish in the Lord, is it enough to simply be “assembly acquaintances”? This lesson aims to get at the heart of the need for edification and the Christian’s responsibility toward one another.
July 26, 2010 by Mitch
Filed under Articles on Christian Living, Articles on Church Growth, Articles on Evangelism, Articles on Faith, Articles on Real Christianity, Articles on Relationships, Blog, Bulletin Articles, Study on Christian Living
What an amazing and wonderful picture the totality of the sacrificial offering was. Read more
Who would have thought back in 1994, when my girlfriend and I came up for one Sunday so I could preach to fill in for the Chestnut Lane congregation that nearly 10 years later I would be moving to work fulltime with that very same congregation. Changes had happened. Chestnut Lane had moved buildings, taken on a new name. My girlfriend and I had married and had three children.
On September 1, 2003, we pulled into our new home. On September 2, a group of you came over and helped us unload our trucks and get unpacked. It started nearly 7 years of a great working fellowship. How was I to know that you weren’t just trying to look good for your new evangelist but that you all really are that loving and serving all the time?
Over the past years, we have weathered good times and bad. You all have been there for us as we had our fourth child, as Marita’s father and grandmother died, as she underwent surgery for skin cancer, as my grandfather died. You were there when we had financial difficulties, spiritual difficulties, extended-family difficulties. You’ve even been there this past week as we had to leave our home because of plumbing problems. I want to thank you for your great service.
I hope you can say the same for us. My hope is that when the shoe was on the other foot, when you were in need and having difficulties, that we were as loving and serving for you as you have been for us.
I have truly enjoyed my time working with you and want to say thank you to the elders and to each of you who make up this congregation for letting me work with you, teach you week in and week out, and be the voice of the congregation. Your kindness and support of my efforts has made all the difference in my own spiritual growth and ability to stick with this work of preaching.
I am excited for what the future holds for me and my family as we move to Indiana. I’m also excited about what the future holds for you as you start to work with a new evangelist. I believe a fresh start will help take the Franklin Church to the next level of work and growth. I’m excited for you and I’m especially excited for the Davis family as they getto experience the love and service that we have experienced for so many years.
You have worked your way into a special place in my heart. I will pray for you continually and often. Please pray for me, my family, and our work.
I want to leave you simply with the reminder from Paul that no matter what happens, we are God’s children and as long as we stay in His hand, “In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us” (Romans 8:37).
Hang on to Jesus. Stand firm in the grace of our Lord and “after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen” (I Peter 5:10-11).
Please remember that I love you and God loves you. Let’s remember to love and pray for one another this week and for the years to come.
If you were asked what is the greatest good deed anyone could do for another, you would likely say, “Share the Gospel.” Clearly, greater than any monetary gift, greater than any emotional support, greater than anything else is welcoming folks into the forgiveness and freedom in Jesus.
We certainly need to be busy getting that good message out at home. At the same time, we are surrounded by a world of lost sinners. They are everywhere, in every country, speaking every language, following every custom. We can’t physically be in two places at once. But we can be a part of good deeds in more than one place at a time.
In Philippians 1:3-5, Paul said, “I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now” (ESV). Then again in Philippians 4:15, “And you Philippians yourselves know that in the beginning of the gospel, when I left Macedonia, no church entered into partnership with me in giving and receiving, except you only.”
Do you see what Paul calls the Philippians? They are partners. None of them were traveling with him. None of them were actually doing any teaching. However, the Phillipian congregation was in partnership with him. They were in fellowship by way of their gift to meet his needs as he did the good work of teaching the gospel. They had a share in his good deeds because they were sending a gift to him.
I recognize this is talking about a congregation. But the same could be said on an individual level. When we support a brother who is busy in the good deeds of spreading the gospel, we partner with him even though we are not physically there. Of course, while financial partnership is a very big help, if you can’t swing that, there are other things you can do.
With the web and e-mail, it is easier to make contact with our brethren the world over than ever before. Why not contact some evangelist and just ask what help he needs. Don’t go to the elders and let them know; just meet the need. Then you will be a partner in those good deeds.
You can contact those we support or have supported based on the reports we post. If you are interested in partnering with others, go to worldevangelist.blogspot.com. John Maddocks, a faithful evangelist in Canada, does a great job getting the word out about evangelists the world over. Sign up to read his blog feed or e-mail to get info. Either way, what a great day to start partnering in the good deeds someone is doing on the other side of the world.