“Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching; persevere in these things, for as you do this you will ensure salvation both for yourself and for those who hear you.” ~ 1 Timothy 4:16 (NASB95)
Don’t get caught up in the latest hype or fads, successful gospel work stands on these 2 pillars…
- yourself: Develop personal integrity that matches your message, far greater harm than can be imagined is done when the one tasked with sharing the gospel of God’s grace destroys the impact of their work by the stain of rebellion. Paul was keenly on point “but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified. ~ 1 Corinthians 9:27 (NASB95)
- your teaching: Be true to the book. No amount of “relevant ideas”, “new line thought”, or “it will help right now well wishing” can suplant the simplicity and genuine effectiveness of the very message God wants to be spoken. The Holy Spirit charged “But as for you, speak the things which are fitting for sound doctrine” ~ Titus 2:1
Beyond this, there is clearly the need for hard work and competent answers to the challenging questions of life and Godliness, but if you deviate from these 2 pillars no amount of sophistry or worldly wisdom will undo the lasting harm done.
Looking for clip art to use in your bible studies and teaching endeavors? check out:
This other Phillip Martin (not me) has some excellent material when you are looking for an illustrated look.
James Nored wrote the following series a while back in which he raises some salient questions and provides his answers to them. In my opinion he does not provide answers to his questions that match the simplicity of the Bible.
“I recently toured a church in our fellowship that just redid their auditorium. They had an incredible set up. Three huge screens, incredible lighting, stadium seating. I immediately thought two things: 1) this must have cost a lot of money–we could never afford this; and 2) I would love to preach in this atmosphere, because it would be incredible. It would be experiential” James Nored
Wes McAdams does a fine job responding to the core of what was missing in his article Experience Driven Church.
- Why are Churches of Christ Shrinking? – Part 1: A Left-Brained Fellowship in a Right-Brained World
- Why are Churches of Christ Shrinking? – Part 2: Failure to Understand that it is an Increasingly Unchurched, Post-Christian World
- Why Churches of Christ Are Shrinking – Part 3: A Misplaced Identity and a Failure to Truly Believe in Grace
- Why Do Churches of Christ Have Hope and a Future? – Part 1: A Reawakening to Ancient Faith & Practices Such as Baptism & the Lord’s Supper
If I were to suggest some solutions to the growing challenge of reaching the lost in our present culture, it would include:
- When asked about the Christ, discuss “righteousness, self-control and the judgment to come”.
- In the manner of your life, let people see that you love your brethren.
- Do not be ashamed of your King.
- Be empowered by holy living.
- Get the seed out of the bag and start sowing!