GOSPEL: What Does “Gospel” Mean?
Let’s follow a quick path through the Bible tracking the word “Gospel” to see what it should mean to you and me as Christians! The word is derived from an Anglo-Saxon word, “godspel”, or “good story” and is substituted for the original Greek word “euaggelion” which originally signified ‘a present given to one who brought good tidings”, or “a sacrifice offered in thanksgiving for such good tidings having come”. In later Greek uses, it was employed for the good tidings themselves! And that is exactly what God is offering us with the Gospel, “good news’ about what he did for us through Jesus Christ!
AMEN: Occasionally, while the preacher is presenting a lesson, someone in the audience will say, ‘Amen.’ Is this practice in keeping with the Bible? If so, what does ‘Amen’ mean?
The term “Amen” is common to both the Old Testament and the New Testament, and it has a variety of uses, depending upon the context in which it is found.
The Hebrew word, amen, means “surely, indeed, truly.” It derives from a root form, aman, which signifies “to be firm, steady, trustworthy, faithful.”
WORSHIP: What does worship mean? Worshipping God means to spill our heart out to God and let him receive it, so that he can fill it with the love of his presence,”
Think about this: The wonder of worship is that it “enables us to emerge from the straightjacket of our oversensitive preoccupation with our feelings, as we rise into the presence of God through a contemplation of Him in His goodness, beauty, and truth, and especially His redeeming acts.”
Memorize this truth: “True worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth.” (John 4:23)
Ask this question: Are you living in that larger realm where God is all?
Life with God is never boring when we trade the certainty of our small life for the uncertainty of a faith-adventure. Worship allows us to walk in communion with a loving God who knows how to take us beyond our frailties and fears. When you worship God, you invite Him to come and fill you with the Holy Spirit. You pray and sing to him through your heart. You read your Bible and just let him speak to you. When you worship God, you honor Him and give Him glory. That’s the whole reason we are even here on Earth.
CHURCH: What does being part of a church mean? A church is a body of believers. A body is a unit. 1Corinthians 12:12, ” For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.”
1 Corinthians 12:12-31, the point is that the church is a unit, a body, with no part being more important than another part, meaning every part is vital and important to the whole. Verse 25, That there should be no schism (division) in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another. Every person is important in a church. In Verse 27-28, Paul explains that Gods gives the gifts as it pleases Him. Verse 18; Each person has a gift, an ability to do a job in the church that needs doing. Everyone does not have the same gift. Different gifts are given so that all the jobs will be filled. (Over the years in working in four churches as member and as pastor, when it comes time to elect positions of service many are mentioned and recognized as having the ability, yet they do not regularly attend. Their talents are wasted, their God given gift is not used as God would have it) They had all things in common. They saw themselves as a body with a common bond.
Acts 4:32, says “they were of the same heart and soul.
Acts 1:14, States they prayed and continued together in “one accord”. Note again the word “all”. I believe today that the reason it is so hard to get everyone to regularly attend church is because Christians are too much involved in worldly things. Notice that I said “too much.” The first priority in our lives must be Jesus Christ if we are to live a happy and fruitful life. Colossians 1:18 says that Christ is to have the preeminence in all things. Putting Him first everything else falls into it proper place. Matthew 6:33 “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” I am not talking about success as the world sees it, but as God does. I am talking about reward in heaven, because we lived our lives in faith, trusting the Lord. In the cover of my Bible there is a poem I copied many years ago which expresses the point very well.
“He is no fool he gives up what he cannot keep, to gain that which he cannot lose, Only one life, which soon will past, only what’s done for Christ will last.”
The problem is that many professing Christians know the words and the meaning of these passages…but can’t seem to believe them. If they believed them they would practice them. Many will let anything interfere with their faithfulness to the Lord.
BIBLE: Why is it so important to read the bible? What is a bible?
“THE BIBLE WAS TAUGHT AND BELIEVED BY ALL.”
Verse 42, states “they continued in stedfastly,” (they devoted themselves) to the apostles’ doctrine.”
1. They all believed the Bible the same.
2. They devoted themselves to doctrine and fellowship.
3. The Bible is the foundation of fellowship.
4. The truth of the Gospel in the New Testament Paul told the Ephesians 4:14-15;
As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming.
ILLUS: It is one thing to know the Bible….it is quite another to live it. It is like a friend of mine who pastored a church that had a history of trouble and a long line of pastors who never stayed very long. A older woman had donated the land to the church and she basically ran things. They sought her approval on all they did in spite of the fact she never came to church. My friend ran into a problem and the woman had taken an unbiblical position. The pastor went to her and from the Bible read the many passages that instructed in the matter. If was sure he had convinced her because it was so clear in God’s word. However, when he finished she replied, “I know it says that in the Bible, but I don’t see it that way.” My friend then joined the long list of past pastors and he too left because the congregation would not follow the Bible, but followed the woman. 2 Corinthians 6:14, “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?” Often churches have members who in fact are like unbelievers that do not study the doctrines of the bible, nor are they obedient to Gods teaching.
BAPTISM: Do you know the purpose of Baptism?
Water Baptism identifies the believer with the Godhead – Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” Matthew 28:19
Water Baptism identifies the believer with Christ in His death, burial and resurrection.
Water Baptism is an act of obedience for the believer. It should be preceded by repentance, which simply means “change.” It is turning from our sin and selfishness to serve the Lord. It means placing our pride, our past and all of our possessions before the Lord. It is giving the control of our lives over to Him. “Peter replied, ‘Each of you must turn from your sins and turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.’ Those who believed what Peter said were baptized and added to the church–about three thousand in all.” Acts 2:38, 41 (NLT)
FELLOWSHIP: Did you know as believers in Christ fellowship is a bond that has to take place in our lives? Biblical Fellowship is a Family relationship: You become a part of the Family of God on Earth. I hope all of us see ourselves as a family. When we joined Gods church we joined His family. Our home is in heaven. Thus as strangers here in the world, we are out numbered, and different from the world, being believers, having our sins forgiven and having received eternal life. It is sad that some in our churches by their lack of devotion to their church show they love the world more.
ILLUS: It was like the man who loved baseball who said he was not going to the games any more. He looked around him at a game and there was drinking, profanity, and all kinds of open sin going on all around him. He said what am I doing here…. I agree….. what place has a Christian where such things are going on? Fellowship requires having concern and a spirit of restoration one to the other. Galatians 6:1-2 “Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.”
a. We are to bear the burdens of one another.
b. Especially of a brother or sister who is in need or has fallen spiritually, or morally.
c. It requires prayer, but more it requires fellowship with the person. Fellowship in a common concern for one another.
Being gentile with the offended, or person who has the problem.
Fellowship requires confession and forgiveness.
James 5:16 “Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”
In order that confession and forgiveness to able to be effective, there must be freedom in the church and atmosphere that will allow it. Gossiping, bitterness, back stabbing, criticizing, hinders the spirit of freedom for forgiveness and confession and will kill the spirit in the church and be like throwing cold water on the freedom to fellowship with each other. So does being judgmental, or condemning, or feeling oneself better that the other person. One also must have the courage to be frank to share a failure or personal need. We each must recognize our own failures, faults and prejudices. We must as Jesus said, “Get the beam out of our own eye before we try to get the mote out of someone’s eye.”
Fellowship involves encouragement and availability. We seek to serve and help each other. You cannot do that if you have something against someone else.
You cannot do it if you are not faithful to the Lord. Hebrews 10:23-25 says we are to hold to our faith without waving. We are to consider how we spur one another on to love and good deeds. We are faithfully meet together, exhorting (building one another up or encouraging one another. Fellowship Involves Informality and Flexibility. Heb. 13:1-2,14-16
Let brotherly love control all we do. Do not for get to entertain stranger. It doesn’t mean show them a good time, but means to show love to or hospitality towards others.
It means having a freedom in our fellowship, and not let ritual and ceremony rule it. Verse 14-16: We should not let not ritual rule or tradition rule our fellowship, but experiencing our common bond the to God. We should let our fellowship and praise to God be in actual doing the will of God, sharing and helping one another for this is what pleases the Lord.
Conclusion: Fellowship with God, by accepting the Lord Jesus Christ is the being of Fellowship.
With God first, and because of that fellowship one with the other.
Are you in fellowship with God? Trusting in Christ. Are we in fellowship with one another.
Are we forgiving? Are we judgmental or considerate and sensitive to one another’s feelings?
TITHE: Do you know the importance of giving ?
Many Christians struggle with the issue of tithing. In some churches tithing is over-emphasized. At the same time, many Christians refuse to submit to the biblical exhortations about making offerings to the Lord. Tithing/giving is intended to be a joy and a blessing. Sadly, that is sometimes not the case in the church today.
Tithing is an Old Testament concept. The tithe was a requirement of the law in which all Israelites were to give 10 percent of everything they earned and grew to the Tabernacle/Temple (Leviticus 27:30; Numbers 18:26; Deuteronomy 14:24; 2 Chronicles 31:5). In fact, the Old Testament Law required multiple tithes which would have pushed the total to around 23.3 percent, not the 10 percent which is generally considered the tithe amount today. Some understand the Old Testament tithe as a method of taxation to provide for the needs of the priests and Levites in the sacrificial system. The New Testament nowhere commands, or even recommends, that Christians submit to a legalistic tithe system. Paul states that believers should set aside a portion of their income in order to support the church (1 Corinthians 16:1-2).
The New Testament nowhere designates a percentage of income a person should set aside, but only says it is to be “in keeping with income” (1 Corinthians 16:2). Some in the Christian church have taken the 10 percent figure from the Old Testament tithe and applied it as a “recommended minimum” for Christians in their giving. The New Testament talks about the importance and benefits of giving. We are to give as we are able. Sometimes that means giving more than 10 percent; sometimes that may mean giving less. It all depends on the ability of the Christian and the needs of the church. Every Christian should diligently pray and seek God’s wisdom in the matter of participating in tithing and/or how much to give (James 1:5). Above all, all tithes and offerings should be given with pure motives and an attitude of worship to God and service to the body of Christ.
“Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7).
Conclusion…. There are many reasons to give. We give in order to:
Help fellow believers
Help the poor
Support the church, its leaders, and its ministry
Gain rewards — whether eternal, or on this Earth
There are many more reasons to give besides the reasons I have pointed out.