What does the phrase ‘Gospel Meeting’ mean to you? What do you think about when you see these two words? For me, it has always meant good food, good speakers, good topics, good sermons, and good times spent with Christian brothers and sisters. Growing up, I always looked forward to the yearly Gospel Meeting because I knew we were going to have a great week of fellowship and spiritual growth. To me, it was one of the highlights of my year. Are these some of the same thoughts that go through your mind? While these are great and perfectly fine thoughts to have about a Gospel Meeting, have we limited what a Gospel Meeting can be?
This year, I want to challenge everyone to think about this Gospel Meeting in a different light. While it is perfectly fine to look forward to growing spiritually and gaining a better knowledge of God’s Word, I want to challenge us all to look at this week as an opportunity to bring lost souls to Christ. I want us all to look for opportunities to feed OTHERS for a change. Jesus said in Mark 2:17, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.” I want to challenge every one of us to look at this Gospel Meeting in light of Jesus’ words in this verse.
So many times we put such an emphasis on the edification and spiritual growth of those who are already “well,” that we leave out the very ones for whom Christ came… “Those who are sick.” If Christ was in charge of this Gospel Meeting, what might be His highest priority? If Mark 2:17 or Luke 19:10 are any indication, His main priority would be to seek and save the lost by calling sick sinners to repentance. Christ’s emphasis would not be on those who are already well or those who are already righteous. His focus would be on those who do not know Him and need the good news. We live our lives assuming everyone around us has already made a decision about God, about religion, about Christianity, and faith. Sometimes I think we can be guilty of being aware of the sick around us and just not caring that they are sick.
We spend so much effort in making sure our members are present at worship that we often neglect the seeking of new souls, new members, and new families. We should not seek them to fill pews but to fill up the eternal Kingdom of God. You see, Christ’s goal for this Gospel Meeting would not be to feed those who have already been filled, but to fill the bellies of those who are destitute of spiritual food. Those who have received the living water and the bread of life are intended to SHARE that living water and bread of life to others. So many times, every one of us can be guilty of hogging the good news, the living water, and the bread of life in Jesus Christ all to ourselves. We hog it while our friends, co-workers, family members, and neighbors all around us are starving for the abundant life we have found in Christ.
Consider the purpose God gave Jonah to go to Nineveh. God did not send Jonah to Nineveh to preach to those who already believed in Him… he sent Jonah to Nineveh to preach to those who were spiritually sick and call them to repentance. When Jonah did as he was told, the Bible tells us, “So the people of Nineveh believed in God, proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest to the least of them,” Jonah 3:5. Consider the Samaritan woman in John 4. When she met and discovered Christ was the Messiah, she ran to tell OTHERS about Him. When they met Christ for themselves, the Bible says, “Then they said to the woman, ‘Now we believe, not because of what you said, for we ourselves have heard Him and we know that this is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world,’” John 4:42. Lastly, consider the great commission Christ gives us, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age,” Matthew 28:19-20. Christ did not commission us to go and continue to preach the Gospel to the spiritually found… but to those who are spiritually LOST. We are not called to make disciples out of the disciples we have already made. We are commanded to GO and BEAR MORE FRUIT.
There is a critical need in the Church for people to RISE UP and decide to make a difference in evangelism. There is nothing inherently wrong with enjoying the spiritual edification we receive from worshipping God, and from Gospel Meetings. There is something inherently wrong, however, when we would rather remain comfortable, rest on our laurels, and prefer to keep things the way they are instead of WORKING to bring more people to the Lord! Too many people in the Church are satisfied with the work that has been done in the past, that they lack the vision to see what can be done in the future. If only we would decide to make a difference.
What are we going to do different this time to ensure that Christ’s main focus of seeking and saving the lost is our main focus? We can start by being purposeful and intentional every day this week. We are going to be purposeful by taking on the purpose Christ had to seek and save the lost, and we are going to be intentional by determining within ourselves to find opportunities to invite those lost to our building this week! I want to challenge everyone to invite two people this week to our Gospel Meeting. It might be your neighbor, your co-worker, your family member, your friend, your boss, your barber, your grocer, your banker, your classmate, your coach, your teammate, your every-day person that you run into all the time that needs to be here to hear about Jesus! I cannot wait to meet your guests and watch as they hear about Jesus and all that He has done for us! Bring them all to the Great Physician and watch Him call the sick to repentance because THAT is what a Gospel Meeting should be about.
– Ben Hogan, Minister of Evangelism