Turning to the Gentiles: The Encouragement that Can Come From Turning to Other Cultures

DSCF8079.JPGTurning To The Gentiles: The Encouragement That Can Come From Turning To Other Cultures

(Acts 13:46-49).

All Scriptures have been taken from the ASV 1901 Version

Introduction

A great topic will be studied today entitled, “Turning to the Gentiles: The Encouragement that Can Come from Turning to Other Cultures.” The purpose of this lesson is to encourage the Lord’s people to extend their vision of preaching the gospel, not only to those of our own language, but also to those of other cultures. We live in a country that is composed of people who speak other languages. We as Christians have a great responsibility of reaching out to them as well. The Bible teaches that “God desires for all men to be saved, and come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim. 2:4). The phrase “all men” refers to Jews and Gentiles, that is, to everyone in general. The Apostle Peter also tells us that God “does not wish that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Pet. 3:9). Therefore, as we examine this lesson, let me encourage each and every one of us to be “doers of God’s Word and not hearers only” (Jam. 1:22). May we remember the blessings that come our way when we practice what the Word of God teaches us (Luke 11:28; Jam. 1:25).

In the next few minutes I want to direct your minds to the subject of evangelism and the great responsibility that each of us has to share the good news of salvation with other cultures. Therefore, let us consider in this lesson the following points: Our command to preach the gospel of Christ, the need to share the good news of salvation, the encouragement that can come from preaching the gospel to other cultures, and, finally, let us examine some practical ways of how you and I can share the gospel of Christ to other cultures.

The Command To Preach The Gospel To The Whole World

Brothers and sisters, it is imperative that we remember at all times the great command we have to preach the gospel of Christ to the world. The New Testament is very clear concerning the command we have to preach the gospel. The Lord Jesus Christ gave this command to His Apostles in Mat. 28:18-20 and Mark 16:15-16. Logic demands that we reason correctly about this command and to recognize that it also applies to us all. Each member of the body of Christ has the obligation to preach the gospel to as many people as possible. The verb “preach” in Mark 16:15 is found in the imperative mood, which reveals a command to follow. Sadly to say, there are those in the Body of Christ who believe the command to preach the gospel only applies to the preacher, and not to the members of the church. Some have come to the point saying “that is why we pay our preacher.” An examination of Acts 8:1-4 reveals that the responsibility of preaching the gospel belongs to the preacher and to each member of the Body of Christ. In this context we see Christian going everywhere preaching the Word of God (v. 4). Brother Johnny Ramsey used to say that the early church went everywhere preaching the Word, but the church of today does not go anywhere preaching the Word. Why you may ask? The reason: some think this is the responsibility of the preacher only. Brothers and sisters, this is not right! We must be obedient to the command of preaching the gospel of Christ to a lost and dying world. Jesus Christ said, “If ye love me, ye will keep my commandments” (John 14:15). Have we taken the Great Commission seriously in our congregations?  Are we, individually speaking, reaching out to the lost? In order for us to take the Great Commission seriously, we must have a love for the souls of this world. We must have the kind of attitude that the Apostle Paul had. Notice what he wrote to the saints at Rome, “I am a debtor both to the Greeks and to Barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish. So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you also that are in Rome” (Rom. 1:14-15). Unless we have this attitude in our hearts, we will never share the gospel of Christ with the lost. The life the Apostle Paul lived is a great source of encouragement for you and for me who desire to preach the gospel to the lost. Paul was able to preach the gospel in many places (Rom. 15:19; Col. 1:6). Why? The answer is simple: He took the Great Commission seriously, and so must we!

The Great Need To Share The Gospel

Let us remember that people are lost without the gospel. The Apostle Paul tells us that the gospel of Christ is the power of God unto salvation (Rom. 1:16). The gospel is the only solution to the sin problem. There is a great need for us to preach the good news of salvation to the whole world. People of every culture in this world have a soul that needs saving. It is imperative that we acknowledge that sin affects everyone in this world. The Apostle Paul wrote to the saints at Rome that everyone within the age of accountability was guilty of sin and stood in need of the gospel (Rom. 3:9-10; 6:23). During the early century, Jews and Gentiles needed to obey the gospel of Christ. Paul establishes the fact that Gentiles are lost and stand in need of the gospel (Rom. 1). He, also, establishes the fact that even Jews are lost and need to obey the gospel as well (Rom. 2). In Romans chapter 3, he establishes the truth that “all have sinned, and have fallen short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23). Friends, nothing has changed today! People of every country need the gospel today more than ever. Sin is a universal problem that affects everyone. Thankfully, God has the solution to the sin problem. You and I can teach the gospel of Christ, the power of God unto salvation to every person we come in contact with. People of every nation are dying in this world every single minute. It is imperative that we acknowledge this; otherwise, people will continue to die without the saving message of Jesus Christ.

Christians today need to put aside every bit of favoritism and begin to share the gospel of Christ with those who do not look like or speak like we do. There are those Christians who would not even consider the possibility of preaching the gospel to other cultures. This was the mentality that the Jewish people had back then. On a certain occasion, Jesus Christ was willing to go through Samaria in order that He may preach the Word of God to the Samaritans (John 4). He ended up staying two days with them. Can you imagine that? Jesus Christ held a two-day gospel meeting in Samaria! I am pretty sure that the Apostles were not very comfortable with that; nevertheless, they still followed the Savior, and were willing to spend a few days in Samaria. We must be willing to preach the gospel of Christ to everyone. Other cultures need the gospel too! The Apostle Paul acknowledged this truth and this is why he was willing to preach the gospel to the Gentiles.

We must remember that God desires the salvation of every single person in this world. There are several passages that reveal the divine desire of God to save all men. Please take the time to read the following passages: Mark 16:15-16; Mat. 28:18-20; 1 Tim. 2:4; 2 Pet. 3:9; Tit. 2:11; Eze. 33:11; John 3:16.  Each of these passages includes people of other cultures. This is something that you and I must understand. I am thankful to God for those faithful brethren who have taken the time to travel to other countries to teach the gospel. I am thankful for brethren who take the time to learn another language so they can preach the good news of salvation to others (e.g. Russian, Spanish, Swahili, Telegu, Chinese, Korean, etc.). We are thankful to God for those congregations who support missionaries across the world. We are thankful to those congregations who are willing to let our Spanish brethren use their facilities so they can have their worship services in their own language. I am thankful to the Gospel Broadcasting Network for contacting me about material to teach others the gospel in Spanish. We are thankful for the House to House publication in English as well as in Spanish. Many have benefitted from their sound material. We are thankful to the brethren who work at Apologetics Press and for their sound material in Spanish. We thank Brother Moises Pinedo for taking the time to translate articles from English to Spanish so many can be taught the Word of God. Friends, we are thankful to God for all of these avenues we can use to teach the Gospel in English as well as in Spanish. We are thankful to those faithful gospel preachers who give us permission to translate some of their material into the Spanish language.

I am thankful to God for the opportunity to be able to speak two languages. This provides me the blessing of being able to preach the gospel of Christ in most parts of the world. I truly enjoy the opportunities to preach lessons bilingual. I have had the blessing of preaching for several gospel meetings where I get to preach bilingual lessons. If you have the opportunity to learn another language, please consider doing so. You will be able to reach out to more people by speaking in other languages. If you are a gospel preacher, and cannot learn another language, at least try to have someone translate lessons for you. Thank God for those faithful brethren who are willing to translate God’s Word.

I am thankful to God for the Brown Trail School of Preaching Spanish department. For 9 years we have been training students in their own language so they can preach the gospel and sound doctrine in Mexico, Costa Rica and many other Spanish-speaking countries. The same courses that each student study in the English department are the ones that all of the students in the Spanish department study. We thank our supporters for helping Spanish students receive their training at Brown Trail. We thank congregations who call the school to ask for preachers who can evangelize in Spanish the community where the church meets. Some of our students are bilingual and can preach the saving message in English as well as in Spanish. We also offer a course in English to those who do not speak the language so we can help those who come from another country learn some things about the language that can assist them in trying to teach others also. When we go on door-knocking campaigns it is interesting to see how the students from the Spanish department who do not speak the English language struggle to teach others the gospel. They, at least, make the effort to tell others about Christ. There is a great lesson we can learn here!

The Encouragement Of Preaching The Gospel To Other Cultures

What type of encouragement do we get for preaching the gospel to other cultures? Brothers and sisters, the encouragement is great. Therefore, let me encourage each and every one of us to please consider the following:

There Is Encouragement In Knowing That Other Cultures Can Receive Forgiveness Of Sins

We know that forgiveness of sins only comes through obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. When we teach them the gospel and they obey it, then they are baptized for the remission of their sins (Acts 2:38; 22:16; Eph. 1:7; Col. 1:14). Remission of sins is necessary in order to be able to see God one day (cf. Mat. 5:8; Heb. 12:14). We can help people receive the forgiveness of their sins by teaching them the gospel of Christ. People today can be justified before God through an obedient faith in Him (Rom. 3:28; 5:1). They can be justified just like the Gentiles did in the early century, through an obedient faith.

There Is Encouragement In Knowing That Other Cultures Can Be Added To The Body Of Christ

It is a great blessing to be members of the Body of Christ! You and I can help other cultures experience this same blessing. Let us teach them that when they obey the gospel of Christ, they can be added to the Body of the Son of God (Acts 2:22-47). They can become members of the one true church of the Bible. Obedience to baptism is what puts people into Christ (Gal. 3:27; Rom. 6:3-4). Once they are in Christ, they will begin to enjoy all the spiritual blessings found in Him (Eph. 1:3). Therefore, let us teach them this great truth!

There Is Encouragement In Knowing That Other Cultures Can Have An Opportunity To Be Reconciled Back To God

The reality of sin in man is what keeps him separated from God (Isa. 59:1-2). The only solution to the sin problem is Jesus Christ and His gospel (cf. Rom. 6:23). Other cultures need to learn that reconciliation is found only in Jesus Christ (cf. Eph. 2:13-16; Rom. 5:10). Other cultures can become part of the family of God by being reconciled to Him (Eph. 2:19). You and I can help other cultures learn what they must do in order to enjoy reconciliation in Christ.

There Is Encouragement In Knowing That Other Cultures Can Experience A New Life In Christ

Through the preaching of the gospel to other cultures, we can help them experience a new life in Christ. We will teach them about the gospel that can help them to be born again of water and the Spirit (John 3:3, 5). Once they are baptized into Christ, they will begin to walk in newness of life (Rom. 6:4; 2 Cor. 5:17). They will experience a great change in their lives, a change like the one the Corinthians experienced (1 Cor. 6:9-11), or a change like the one the Apostle Paul experienced (Acts 9, 22, 26).

There Is Encouragement In Knowing That Other Cultures Can Enjoy The Opportunity To Worship God In Spirit And In Truth

The only way to worship the Creator of heaven and earth acceptably is by being in the Body of Christ. Only these are the ones who are authorized to worship in Spirit and in Truth (John 4:23-24; Eph. 3:20—21). The Apostle Peter made a great statement when he was preaching the gospel to the Gentiles. Notice what he said, “And Peter opened his mouth and said, of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: but in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is acceptable to him (Acts 10:34-35). Only those who are faithful to the commandments of God are qualified to worship God acceptably. We can bring more people to God who will give Him the honor and glory He deserves. We can be the means by which other cultures can forsake paganism in order to come and worship the living God. The saints at Thessalonica forsook their idols so they can worship God (cf. 1 The. 1:9-10). They did this because of the preaching of the gospel through the Apostle Paul.

There Is Encouragement In Knowing That Other Cultures Can Enjoy The Hope Of Eternal Life

We need to teach other cultures what they must do in order to enjoy the hope of eternal life (Heb. 5:8-9). Let us teach them that by being baptized into Christ is how they can have the hope of eternal life. They need to know that this hope is found in Jesus (cf. 1 John 5:11—13; John 11:25—26). The Bible teaches that eternal salvation is found only in Jesus Christ (John 10:9; Acts 4:12). We can help people get into Christ by teaching them the gospel. Once they obey it, they will begin to enjoy this great hope of eternal life.

Various Means To Share The Gospel With Other Cultures

How can you and I reach out to other cultures with the gospel of Christ? What are some of the things that we can consider to accomplish the preaching of the gospel? Let me invite you to please consider the following:

Try To Learn Another Language If Possible

We have several gospel preachers who have taken the time to learn the Spanish language as well as other languages. They had the desire to do mission work in other countries and so they went to a school to learn the language. Some of them learned so well that they were able to preach in that particular language. If you have the opportunity to learn, please consider doing so. It is a great joy being bilingual because you can teach the gospel of Christ on both sides of the world!

When Possible, Try To Give Away Tracts That Teach About The Gospel And The Church To Other Cultures

We have several tracts in Spanish that have been written by faithful gospel preachers. We also have tracts that have been translated into other languages. We can purchase these tracts and pass them out to our friends from other cultures. Some of your friends may accept them, while others will not. We are thankful for ministries such as House to House, Worldwide Spanish Literature Ministry, Mission Printing, and many more that have translated several tracts into other languages. Let us be good stewards of these means by which we can teach others the gospel.

Support Ministries That Advance The Teaching Of The Gospel To Other Cultures

We are blessed to have several ministries that advance the teaching of the gospel to other cultures. The ministries mentioned before, as well as Apologetics Press, World Video Bible School, the Gospel of Christ and others need our support so they can continue to produce sound material that will teach people the gospel of Jesus Christ. We need to consider supporting these ministries, as well as take advantage of the various literatures they have.

Support Sound Preaching Schools That Are Involved In Preaching The Gospel To Other Cultures

You and I know how much need we have for sound schools of preaching to be in existence. Jesus once said, “The harvest indeed is plenteous, but the laborers are few” (Mat. 9:37), therefore, this being the case, we will always stand in need of sound preaching school who will train faithful gospel preachers, who will reach out to a lost and dying world. We have several sound schools today that are making a difference around the world. The World Missions Program of the Memphis School of Preaching is and will continue to be a great way to reach out to the world. In this school, we also have several Spanish-speaking students who received their training there, and who are making a difference teaching other cultures the gospel of Christ. The Brown Trail School of Preaching Spanish department will also make a difference by training gospel preachers in their own language. Graduates from these schools are teaching the gospel to as many people as possible. Let us keep them in our prayers.

If Possible, Begin A Spanish Ministry In Your Local Congregation

There are several congregations in the United States that have started a Spanish ministry in their local congregation. After my graduation from Brown Trail School of Preaching I went to work for an English-speaking congregation who had a Spanish work within their facilities. I was able to work together with the leadership as well as the members from both congregations. There were times when we had several bilingual services together. It was indeed a great experience being together to worship our heavenly Father! The congregation may consider hiring a bilingual preacher who has graduated from a sound preaching school. This way they can know for sure that the doctrine that will be taught to the Spanish brethren will be sound. There are several preaching schools that are graduating bilingual preachers.

Recommend Sound Websites Where Other Cultures Can Learn About The Word of God

With the use of the internet, we have come to a point in which we have a lot of written material that can teach the gospel to other cultures. Let us be familiar with these websites and recommend them to our friends. My personal website is: www.regresandoalabiblia.com (backtothebible). On this website you can find a lot of Spanish material that has been written by me. There is also a Bible correspondence course that I wrote, and that you can use to teach Spanish-speaking friends the gospel of Christ. There is also the www.housetohouse.com website and www.enfoquebiblico.com  These are great avenues to teach people the gospel of Christ. Let us take the time to recommend these websites. Personally, I get emails from people all over the world that have benefited from the material that I have written. Let us make good use of the technology we have to teach others the gospel of Christ.

Conclusion

            Preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ to other cultures is a command from God for His church. This task will produce great encouragement in our lives. Therefore, let us be doers of God’s Word and not hearers only. Let us reach out to as many people as possible with the saving message of Christ. May the Lord give us the wisdom and the strength to carry out this noble task of helping others get to heaven. Always remember that God would have all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth (1 Tim. 2:4). To God be the glory in everything we do, especially in preaching the gospel to the world.

Willie A. Alvarenga

P.O. BOX 210667

Bedford, TX 76095

(817) 268 3222; 681 4543

walvarenga@btsop.com

www.backtobibleknowledge.com

www.alvarengapublications.com

www.btsop.com

 

 

 

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By willie75

Fostering Attendance Among the Membership

FOSTERING ATTENDANCE AMONG THE MEMBERSHIP by Willie A. Alvarenga

“How to keep families coming back/maintaining what we have”

INTRODUCTION

There is no question about it! God desires for the church to grow in number and to be strong. He wants the church to grow in number because He desires the salvation of all men (1 Timothy 2:4; Titus 2:11). He wants the church to be strong in order to make a difference in this world. A strong church will serve God faithfully and will proclaim the gospel to the lost (Mark 16:15).

Church growth and fostering attendance among the membership is a challenge that each leadership must face. I have seen and heard of congregations that used to be more than 700 in attendance, but now are less than 30. I have also seen and heard about congregations of the Lord’s church dying to the point of having to sell their building. Our present status with regards to church attendance is not very favorable and we must think about what we can do to find a solution to this issue.  My assignment is to present practical principles with regards to how we as a church can foster attendance among the membership.

REGULAR CHURCH ASSEMBLY IS CLEARLY SEEN AND REQUIRED IN THE NEW TESTAMENT

A careful study of the New Testament reveals a church that would come together on a regular basis. For example, the early church came together on Sunday to partake of the Lord’s Supper, “And upon the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread, Paul discoursed with them, intending to depart on the morrow; and prolonged his speech until midnight” (Acts 20:7). The church at Corinth also came together upon the first day of the week in order to partake of the offering, “Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I gave order to the churches of Galatia, so also do ye. 2Upon the first day of the week let each one of you lay by him in store, as he may prosper, that no collections be made when I come” (1 Corinthians 16:1-2).

We also see in the book of Acts a church that would preach the Gospel of Christ on a regular basis, “And every day, in the temple and at home, they ceased not to teach and to preach Jesus as the Christ” (Acts 5:42). These passages can be used as evidence to show that the church had regular assemblies in the first century.

THE CHURCH IS ENCOURAGED NOT TO FORSAKE THE ASSEMBLING OF OURSELVES

The Hebrews writer penned the following exhortation, “23let us hold fast the confession of our hope that it waver not; for he is faithful that promised: 24and let us consider one another to provoke unto love and good works; 25not forsaking our own assembling together, as the custom of some is, but exhorting one another; and so much the more, as ye see the day drawing nigh” (Hebrews 10:23-25). A careful study of this passage reveals God’s will with regards to church attendance. God expects every member to be present when the church worships Him. If members are not careful, the practice of forsaking the assembly may become a custom. According to Louw and Nida, this word denotes a pattern of behavior more or less fixed by tradition and generally sanctioned by the society[1] Sadly, many members have fallen into the practice of forsaking the assembling. Most of them provide reasons for forsaking the assembly that are not justifiable before God.

The phrase “the day drawing night” has been given various interpretations. Some believe this phrase refers to the first day of the week when the church comes together for worship. Others believe that it makes a reference to the Second Coming of Christ. Others argue that it refers to the day of judgement, while some believe it is a clear reference to the destruction of Jerusalem. The two interpretations that would fit the context would be the Second Coming of Christ or the destruction of Jerusalem. Both interpretations do not alter the context of the passage and the book itself. Even though no one knew about the day Christ would return (Matthew 24:36, 44), Christian still knew that it could happen at any time, and they needed to be ready for that glorious day. The context of Hebrews 10:25 with regards to the Second Coming of Christ is supported, as some argue, by Hebrews 9:28 where the Second Coming is mentioned. Hebrews 10:37 also comments on the Second Coming of Christ. The word “drawing night” from the Greek engizo has also been used to argue in favor of the Second Coming of Christ. This word appears 42 times in the New Testament. Most of the time, this word is used in the context of the Second Coming (e.g., Romans 13:12; James 5:8; 1 Peter 4:7). Based on these two passages, and the usage of the word engizo, some have concluded that the phrase, “the day drawing night” is a reference to the Second Coming of Christ.

Those who argue in favor of the destruction of Jerusalem based their conclusion on several arguments. One of those arguments is the date of the book of Hebrews. It is argued that since the book was written at about 60-67 AD, it was written before the destruction of Jerusalem. Christians were very familiar with this event, since the Lord has given them information that would help them to be aware of it (cf. Matthew 24:1-32). In my own personal opinion, I do not believe that these two interpretations are in conflict with the context of the passage under consideration.

Let us now direct our attention to ways on which we can foster attendance among the membership. Let us examine ways that are not in conflict with what the Bible teaches. There is always a good and a bad way to do things. We always want to make sure we do only those things God authorize in His Word (cf. Colossians 3:17; 1 Peter 4:11).

WAYS TO FOSTER ATTENDANCE AMONG THE MEMBERSHIP

Elders and ministers must encourage the membership to remain faithful to God

Elders and ministers must encourage each member to be faithful to God, since faithfulness to our God will help us to strengthen church attendance. As a minister of the Gospel, the apostle Paul strived to encourage each member to maintain their faithfulness to the Lord. Let us notice what Paul wrote to the saints at Philippi, “Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ: that, whether I come and see you or be absent, I may hear of your state, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one soul striving for the faith of the gospel” (Philippians 1:27). He also stated, “Wherefore, my brethren beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, my beloved” (Philippians 4:1). To the saints at Ephesus, he wrote, “I therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, beseech you to walk worthily of the calling wherewith ye were called, 2with all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; 3giving diligence to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:1-3). To the saints at Colossae, he wrote, “If then ye were raised together with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated on the right hand of God. 2Set your mind on the things that are above, not on the things that are upon the earth. 3For ye died, and your life is hid with Christ in God. 4When Christ, who is our life, shall be manifested, then shall ye also with him be manifested in glory” (Colossians 3:1-4).

This is the kind of exhortation the church needs today. Paul gives us an example of the kind of encouragement leaders must provide for the local congregations. If this kind of encouragement is absent from the elders and ministers, then the congregation will suffer, and will get discouraged.

As ministers and elders, there must be the acknowledgment of Satan’s attacks against the church. The apostle Peter wrote, “Be sober, be watchful: your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8). A study of this passage shows how the enemy, our adversary the devil, walks about as a roaring lion seeking to destroy the church. The Greek grammar of the verb, “walks” reveals that he does this on a continual basis. This is the reason why the church must be encouraged to stand firm in the Lord (Ephesians 6:10-18).

The church must remember that we now live for Christ (Philippians 1:21), and as such, our main emphasis is to please the Lord and not ourselves.

Elders and ministers must emphasize church members the benefits of coming back to services

We must remind ourselves continually of the great things that take place every time we come together as the church of our Lord Jesus Christ. First of all, every time we come together, we enjoy the blessing and the privilege of worshiping the Creator of heaven and earth. What a great blessing it is to sing praises to God, to direct our minds to the throne of grace through our prayers, to partake of the Lord’s Supper, to give of our means to the work of the Lord, and to listen to His Word being preached. Brethren, these are great blessings we enjoy when we come together upon the first day of every week!

Second, we not only enjoy the blessing of worshiping God, but we also enjoy the blessing of having fellowship with one another. The psalmist once wrote, “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! (Psalm 133:1). The early church is a great example of this great fellowship. Notice what Luke tells us with regards to the early church, “And day by day, continuing steadfastly with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread at home, they took their food with gladness and singleness of heart, 47praising God, and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to them day by day those that were saved” (Acts 2:46-47). The purpose of coming together is for the benefit of encouraging one another. This is what the Hebrews writer tells us, “and let us consider one another to provoke unto love and good works; 25not forsaking our own assembling together, as the custom of some is, but exhorting one another; and so much the more, as ye see the day drawing nigh” (Hebrews 10:24-25). It is a great source of encouragement when everyone is present to read God’s Word, and worship the Father in spirit and in truth (John 4:24).

Third, when we come back to services, we enjoy the opportunity and the blessing to hear another sermon, which will help us to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:18). Elders and ministers must emphasize the need to grow in the knowledge of God’s Word. If the church is to be strong in the faith, she must be strong in Bible knowledge, otherwise, such church will be destroyed (Hosea 4:6; Isaiah 5:13). Coming back to church services provides a great opportunity to study God’s Word and to know it better. We are encouraged to handle aright the Word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15). One way to accomplish this is by coming back to services and enjoying the opportunity to study God’s Word.

Fourth, when you come back to every service, you enjoy the favorable circumstance of showing appreciation to the person who delivers the lesson at that particular time. You can encourage the preacher by coming back to hear another lesson presented by him. You can tell the minister how much you appreciate his efforts in preparing the lesson and presenting it to you.

Therefore, the leadership of the church must remind the congregation of the great blessings we receive by coming back to services.

Elders and ministers must encourage members to grow in brotherly love

Brotherly love is an essential ingredient to church growth and to having a strong church. When brotherly love is strong, this will help each member to see the need to be together with one another as the first century church did.

Jesus commands us to have love for one another, “A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another; even as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. 35By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another” (John 13:34-35). This brotherly love must be without hypocrisy, “Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good” (Romans 12:9). When members practice brotherly love, they will show this by putting others first, “make full my joy, that ye be of the same mind, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind; 3doing nothing through faction or through vainglory, but in lowliness of mind each counting other better than himself; 4not looking each of you to his own things, but each of you also to the things of others” (Philippians 2:2-4).

The early church spent much time together because they had so much love for one another (cf. Acts 2:44-47; 4:32ff). The more we love each other, the more we would want to spend time together worshiping God. The love that God expects from all of us is of such nature that when members are absent, other members are concerned and find ways to help those who struggle spiritually. When members are angry at each other, this will affect the fellowship that God expects from each of us. Therefore, if the church is to have a strong membership, she must emphasize brotherly love in the life of each member, since this kind of love will help us to…[2]

  1. Assemble with one another (Hebrews 10:25)
  2. Concern for one another (Romans 15:2; 1 Corinthians 12:25-26)
  3. Comfort one another (1 Thessalonians 4:18)
  4. Correct one another (Romans 15:14)
  5. Encourage one another (Luke 22:32)
  6. Build up one another (Romans 14:19; 1 Thessalonians 5:11)
  7. Be examples to one another ((Matthew 5:13ff; Romans 12:17)
  8. Fellowship with one another (Acts 2:42; Galatians 6:6)
  9. Compassion for one another (Matthew 7:12; Ephesians 4:32)
  10. Greet one another (Romans 16:16-21; Philemon 1:8)
  11. Honor one another (Romans 12:10; Matthew 15:4)
  12. Humility toward one another (John 13:14-17; Romans 15:2; 2 Corinthians 12:1-5)
  13. Submit to one another (Ephesians 5:21; 1 Corinthians 16:15-16)
  14. Love one another (John 15:12; 13:34-35)
  15. Forgive one another (Mark 11:25-26; Matthew 5:7)
  16. Pray with and for one another (Matthew 5:44; Ephesians 6:18)
  17. Report news to one another (Acts 15:12; 2 Corinthians 7:7)
  18. Serve one another (Matthew 10:8; 1 Corinthians 16:1-2; John 13:14-17)
  19. Speak right to one another (Matthew 5:37; Ephesians 5:19)
  20. Teach one another (Matthew 28:20; Acts 20:27; Colossians 3:16)
  21. Accept one another (John 13:20; Romans 12:16)

Brotherly love will also help members to avoid the following:

  1. Conflict with one another (Matthew 5:21-22; 38-41; Acts 15:37-39)
  2. Covetous of one another (Matthew 20:11-15; Luke 15:28-30)
  3. Favoritism toward one another (Luke 14:12; 1 Corinthians 4:5-6)
  4. Hypocrisy toward one another (Matthew 6:1-8; Romans 12:9)
  5. Immorality with one another (Matthew 5:27-28; 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8)
  6. Judging one another wrongly (Matthew 7:1-5; Luke 6:37)
  7. Bad influence on one another (Luke 18:16; Matthew 18:6-7)
  8. Neglecting one another (Luke 10:31-32; Hebrews 13:2-16)
  9. Seeking honor from one another (Matthew 23:6-10; 19:30; Mark 9:34-35)
  10. Speaking wrongly about one another (Matthew 15:19; Acts 23:5; Romans 1:29-30; Colossians 3:9; 2 Corinthians 10:10; 1 Peter 4:9)

Elders and ministers must strive to keep their preaching biblical and relevant to the membership

One of the reasons why church members do not attend Sunday morning Bible class and evening services is because the kind of preaching that is coming forth from the pulpit is dull and with no meaning whatsoever. As a matter of fact, such cannot be called preaching. Some speakers may have something good to say, but their preaching style is monotonous. Members fall asleep when such preaching and teaching takes place. I have had the chance to attend several congregations where someone else does the teaching. Many times I have seen how people fall asleep during Bible class because the way the teacher is teaching contributes to this end.

There are those who spend too much time preaching on history, geography and their teaching contains no practical application whatsoever. Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying we should not preach or teach on history or Bible geography. We can preach on these subjects, but we must never forget to do it in such a way as to also include practical lessons. Our preaching must be relevant to the congregation to whom we preach. God’s Word can make us complete unto every good work (2 Timothy 3:17). If ministers prepare their lessons with anticipation and diligence, their preaching will make a difference in the lives of those to whom they preach. God’s Word has the power to produce joy within our hearts (Jeremiah 15:16). As Gospel preachers, we must help members fall in love with God’s Word (Psalm 119:97). We can accomplish this through a preaching that brings glory and honor to our heavenly Father.

When Jesus preached the Word, people were amazed at His teaching (Mark 1:22). When the Son of God preached about marriage, divorce and remarriage, immorality, hypocrisy, loving our enemies, people were amazed at His teaching (Matthew 7:28-29).

When the apostle Paul preached, people heard him gladly and they encouraged him to come back again (Acts 13:15-42). When we preach, we need to do it in such a way as to encourage people to want to hear more of God’s Word. They need to be encouraged to come back on Sunday evening and Wednesday night. If our preaching is biblical (1 Peter 4:11; Titus 2:1), then faithful Christian will want to hear our messages, and they will grow spiritually. And, those who are not faithful Christians will have the opportunity to think about their unfaithfulness and may want to repent of their sins and come back to the Lord. People will want to come back again to hear another message. But, if our messages are not presented the way God would have us to present it, then people will be discouraged in coming back again.

Personally, I recommend Gospel preachers doing series of lessons on Sunday evening and Wednesday nights, making sure that such series of lessons are practical and relevant to the audience. I would recommend lessons on Fundamentals of the Faith, How to Study the Bible Efficiently, etc. Such lessons will be interesting to those who desire to grow in the knowledge of God’s Word.

ADDITIONAL ELEMENTS THAT CAN FOSTER ATTENDANCE AMONG THE MEMBERSHIP

I enjoyed the opportunity of asking certain members of various congregations about what they thought the church could consider in order to encourage members to come back again to Wednesday and Sunday evening services. The following represents their concern:

  1. Pay attention to each member of the congregation. When they are absent from services, make sure you call them to offer your assistance and encouragement. Ignoring members who do not attend services on a regular basis will only hurt the membership and will provide an open door to Satan’s attacks.
  2. Make every Bible class and sermon interesting. Do not fall into the habit of preaching the same sermon over and over again. Make sure you cover all kinds of Bible subjects that will be interesting and relevant to the membership. Let us strive to give them something they can take home with them.
  3. Foster brotherly love among each member. There are members who want to be loved. When brotherly love is not present, they may go somewhere else to find it. I have known of members who have gone to denominations under the excuse of not being loved by the members. Even though, there is no biblical excuse to joined a denomination, nevertheless, as God’s people, we are commanded to show love to one another (John 13:34-35).
  4. The preacher must be prepared for all classes and sermons he preaches. If the preacher is not prepared for Bible class or his sermon, he will do a terrible job and this may be a reason why members may show indifference towards the preaching of God’s Word. The preacher must always be ready to proclaim the Word of God in such a way as to encourage members to want to grow in the knowledge of God’s Word (2 Peter 3:18).
  5. There must be variation in the way we do things. There is nothing wrong with doing things a little bit different, so long as those things are in accordance with God’s Will (Colossians 3:17). Congregations may try to do a 13-week summer series where guest speakers come and share God’s Word. You may invite guest speakers on Sunday evening where a series of lessons may be presented on a particular subject. You may have a session of questions and answers on a particular subject. The leadership may also allow the congregation to watch a particular lesson on DVD. You may do this once or twice a month. Lessons such as evolution, sin, etc., may be watched by the members when they come together. World Video Bible School has several lessons that can be shown to the membership on a Sunday or Wednesday evening. There are some congregations who enjoy fellowship after the Sunday or Wednesday evening services. Some bring cookies and drinks to share with members and so, by doing this; they will enjoy the fellowship with one another. Don’t be afraid to try new things, once again, so long as those things do not constitute a violation of God’s Word.
  6. Encourage members to participate in Sunday evening services. The leadership may encourage several men of the congregation and the youth to participate in Scripture reading, singing, prayers, teaching, preaching, etc. Members must feel the need to be useful in God’s kingdom.

THE BENEFITS OF A STRONG MEMBERSHIP

  1. Members will be exposed to more Bible teaching (Acts 2:42; 2 Peter 3:18)
  1. Members will be encouraged to live the Christian life that God would have us to live (1 Corinthians 15:58)
  1. Members will learn to appreciate the importance of coming together as the church of Jesus Christ (Psalm 122:1)
  1. Members will enjoy the opportunity to show love and encouragement for one another (Hebrews 10:24-25)
  1. Members will enjoy a clear conscience of not forsaking the assembling of themselves together (John 14:15)
  1. Members will feel useful in God’s kingdom (Ephesians 4:15-16)
  1. Our children will learn the importance of church attendance by our example.
  1. Members who attend church services on a regular service will be a great example to those who don’t
  1. Members who attend services on a regular basis are following the example of the early church (Acts 2:42, 46; 5:42)
  1. Members learn to overcome the sin of forsaking the assembling or saints by always being present (Hebrews 10:25)

 

QUESTIONS ABOUT CHURCH ATTENDANCE

In evaluating your church attendance, here are some questions you should honestly ask yourself:[3]

  1. Am I really putting God first – before my own desires, before my family, and before everything else in life?
  2. Am I genuinely sorry when I must miss – or would I really rather be doing something else instead of going?
  3. Would I honestly be fulfilling my duty to God as well by not going as I would be by going?
  4. If some “emergency” would keep me from attending, would the same circumstances keep mefrom other activities that are of great importance to me?
  5. Am I seeking to do as much as I can for the Lord, or am I just trying to “get by” with minimal service?
  6. If everyone else – including my family and loved ones – were to imitate my attendance, would they please God and receive eternal life?
  7. What would I think of an elder or preacher who attends as I do?
  8. Is my practice in harmony with what I profess, sing, and pray?
  9. What would I do if I knew this was my last day on earth – if I knew I would dieor Jesus would come today?
  10. What would Jesus do if he were in the same circumstance I am in?

What is your conclusion about your attendance? Are you serving God faithfully? Do you need to improve?

FINAL COMMENTS

We already have too many congregations who are dying. As members of the body of Christ, we must take seriously the opportunity we have to come together every time the church meets for worship. We must never forget that God is present every time we worship Him and study His Word. May we take the time to seriously and prayerfully examine the ways on how we can foster attendance among the membership. There are several things that we can consider, things that are in perfect harmony with God’s will.

One of the great things that will take care of the problem of members not returning to services is faithfulness from their part. Unless we are faithful to God, we will never take church attendance seriously. We may practice new things in order to foster attendance, but if my heart is not right with God, then such things will not result in a positive outcome. May God give us the wisdom and the strength to continue serving the Lord with faithfulness and gladness in our hearts!

“I was glad when they said unto me, let us go unto the house of Jehovah” – Psalm 122:1

May God help us to have this kind of attitude every time we come together for worship!

Willie A. Alvarenga

P.O. Box 210667

Bedford, TX 76095

(817) 268 3222; 545 4004; 681 4543

walvarenga@btsop.com

www.backtobibleknowledge.com

www.regresandoalabiblia.com

http://www.alvarengapublications.com

REFERENCES:

[1] Johannes P. Louw and Eugene Albert Nida, Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament: Based on Semantic Domains, electronic ed. of the 2nd edition. (New York: United Bible Societies, 1996). 506.

[2] Alvin Jennings, You Can Be a Soul Winner (Fort Worth, TX: Star Bible Publications, 1990).70-71.

[3] http://www.gospelway.com/church/attendance.php

By willie75

Unsung Heroes of the Bible: Demetrius

UNSUNG HEROES OF THE BIBLE: DEMETRIUS by Willie A. Alvarenga

Demetrius hath the witness of all men, and of the truth itself: yea, we also bear witness: and thou knowest that our witness is true (3 John 12) [1]

INTRODUCTION

As we study the Bible, we cannot help but to notice how much emphasis it gives concerning the need to be imitators of good examples (e.g. 1 Corinthians 4:16; 1 Corinthians 11:1; Philippians 3:17; 1 Thessalonians 1:6; 2:14; 3 John 11; Colossians 4:5). As we can see, we are encouraged to be good examples to others. Our study at this moment will focus on a great example we have in the New Testament. Even though we do not have many verses devoted to telling us about this particular Christian, we know he was a faithful example to follow. We are talking about our brother in Christ, Demetrius. As we examine our lesson, let us consider the following: (1) The phrase of our topic under consideration, (2) The faithful man under consideration, (3) The good testimony of Demetrius, and finally, (4) Seven practical principles on how to be a good example like him.

THE PHRASE OF OUR TOPIC UNDER CONSIDERATION

What does the phrase, “Unsung heroes of the Bible” mean? It basically means that there are several examples of faithful people of God who served Him faithfully in the past, but who do not receive much acknowledgment from our part. We have preached many sermons about the Apostles and many others, but at times, we have failed to acknowledge the faithful service of others such as Epaphroditus (Philippians 2:25-30), Antipas (Revelation 2:13), and Onesiphorus (2 Timothy 1:16-18), just to mention a few.  For this reason, we need to be encouraged to speak about the good service others have provided to our heavenly Father. God, in His infinite wisdom, decided to include their names in the inspired pages of the New Testament. We must recognize that God did this for our own benefit, that is, so that we may imitate their faithful service to Him.

THE NAME DEMETRIUS

What does the Bible say about Demetrius? As we study the Bible, we realize that this name appears only three times in the New Testament. Luke tells us about a person named Demetrius in Acts 19:24, “For a certain man named Demetrius, a silversmith, who made silver shrines of Diana, brought no little business unto the craftsmen.” This same person is mentioned again in Acts 19:38, “If therefore Demetrius, and the craftsmen that are with him, have a matter against any man, the courts are open, and there are proconsuls: Let them accuse one another.” It is obvious from these two references that this man was not a Christian. The other reference to this name is found in 3 John 12, “Demetrius hath the witness of all men, and of the truth itself: yea, we also bear witness: and thou knowest that our witness is true.”

One of the questions we may ask is whether these two names make reference to the same person, or to different ones. Some have suggested that both may be reference to the same person. Notice what J.R. Dummelow commented:

Both he and the mob leader lived in or near Ephesus, and there is nothing impossible in the suggestion that the agitator had become a disciple, and that both references, therefore, are to the same person. He may have been the bearer of this letter[2]

According to an approximate chronology of events in the book of Acts, we may suggest that the events in Acts 19 took place around A.D. 54-57. It has been argued that the letter of 3 John was penned at about A.D. 95. If we take these dates into consideration, and if we suggest that these two references are the same person, then about 38 years have transpired since the events in Acts 19, and the writing of the letter of 3 John.

There may be a chance that the person named Demetrius Luke mentions in his book may have later become a faithful Christian in the Lord’s church. Taking into consideration the dates, he may have been in his late 60’s or 70’s.

THE GOSPEL CAN CHANGE LIVES!

We must remember that the gospel of Christ is the power of God unto salvation (Romans 1:16), and as such, people can turn their lives around for the better. We know this was the case with those who practiced magic (Acts 19:18-20) “Many also of them that had believed came, confessing, and declaring their deeds. 19And not a few of them that practised magical arts brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all; and they counted the price of them, and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver. 20So mightily grew the word of the Lord and prevailed”, Saul of Tarsus (Acts 9, 22, 26), those at Corinth (1 Corinthians 6:9-11) “Or know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with men, 10nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. 11And such were some of you: but ye were washed, but ye were sanctified, but ye were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and in the Spirit of our God,” and many others.

But as far as Demetrius is concerned, and his possible connection to the one mentioned in Acts 19, we can only speculate as to who this person really was. We can only hope that the one mentioned in the book of Acts was the same the Apostle John mentioned in his letter. If this was the case, then, what a great joy and victory for the cause of Christ this was!

DEMETRIUS: A MAN OF GREAT TESTIMONY

In the New Testament we have approximately 7, 957 verses. Of all these verses, only one was dedicated to mentioning Demetrius. Yes, only one verse, but a powerful one! When we examine and practice the content of this particular verse, it will help us to become faithful servants of the Lord. This faithfulness will take us into eternity with God. With this in mind, let us consider what the inspired Apostle John wrote about this faithful Christian.

DEMETRIUS ENJOYED A GREAT REPUTATION FROM ALL MEN

“Demetrius hath the witness of all men, and of the truth itself: yea, we also bear witness: and Thou knowest that our witness is true” (3 John 12).

What a great statement this is! The faithful Demetrius enjoyed the blessing of being able to be well spoken of by others. He was a diligent Christian who, even though he lived in the world, he did not live according to the world (John 15:19; 17:14).

If ye were of the world, the world would love its own: but because ye are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you (John 15:19).

I have given them thy word; and the world hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world (John 17:14).

The phrase “of all men” implies that he had a good reputation not only among Christians, but also with the people of the world. With regards to the people outside of Christ, the Bible encourages us to be a good example to them. Please consider the following verses:

Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost its savor, wherewith shall it be salted? It is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out and trodden under foot of men. Ye are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a lamp, and put it under the bushel, but on the stand; and it shineth unto all that are in the house. Even so let your light shine before men; that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven (Matthew 5:13-16, ASV 1901).

Walk in wisdom toward those who are outside (Colossians 4:5, NKJV).

Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives, when they observe your chaste conduct accompanied by fear (1 Peter 3:1-2, NKJV).

That you may walk properly toward those who are outside, and that you may lack nothing (1 Thessalonians 4:12, NKJV).

Moreover he must have a good testimony among those who are outside, lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil (1 Timothy 3:7, NKJV).

We are also encouraged through the Scriptures to be good examples to those of the family of God. Consider the following verses:

And ye became imitators of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Spirit; so that ye became an ensample to all that believe in Macedonia and in Achaia. For from you hath sounded forth the word of the Lord, not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but in every place your faith to God-ward is gone forth; so that we need not to speak anything (1 Thessalonians 1:6-8).

Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an ensample to them that believe, in word, in manner of life, in love, in faith, in purity (1 Timothy 4:12).

In all things showing thyself an ensample of good works; in thy doctrine showing uncorruptness, gravity, sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of us (Titus 2:6-7).

It is imperative that you and I strive to be good examples to others so God may be glorified and those outside of Christ may be encouraged to obey the gospel as they consider our lights shining. There is no doubt that Demetrius was able to bring people to Christ through his excellent example. People were able to see Christ in him! Let us remember the words penned by Luke in Acts 2:47, “Praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved” (Acts 2:47). What a positive impact we can have on others through our faithful example!

Now, according to the context of this letter and the good reputation Demetrius enjoyed, we can safely conclude that this Christian man (1) Walked in the truth of God’s Word, (2) He was a faithful worker in the kingdom of God, (3) He was a helper of those who needed help, (4) He was a fellow-worker for the truth, (5) He was an imitator of good examples, and (6) He was a good example to others. Even though most of these things are said of Gaius, as stated before, we can safely conclude that Demetrius practiced these things as well.

WALKING IN GOD’S TRUTH

With this in mind, let me encourage all of us to walk in the truth of God’s Word just like John, Gaius and Demetrius did. The Bible teaches us to be obedient to God’s Word. Let me encourage us to take heed to the following verses: “Hold the pattern of sound words which thou hast heard from me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 1:13), “But abide thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them” (2 Timothy 3:14), “If you love me, ye will keep my commandments” (John 14:15). If we follow these verses we will be walking in the truth of God’s Word. Let us remember that we are to be doers of God’s Word and not hearers only (James 1:22-25). We can be sure that Demetrius did indeed follow and obeyed God’s Word.

FAITHFUL WORKERS IN THE KINGDOM OF GOD

We also need to strive to be faithful workers in the kingdom of God as Gaius and Demetrius were. The Scriptures place a great emphasis upon a diligent service in the kingdom. Let us hear what God has to say on this:

Not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord (Romans 12:11).

Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord (1 Corinthians 15:58).

Finally then, brethren, we urge and exhort in the Lord Jesus that you should abound more and more, just as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God (1 Thessalonians 4:1).

The kingdom of God needs more faithful workers like Gaius, Demetrius and all the ones who have served the Lord in His kingdom throughout the ages.

I am confident that Demetrius, like Gaius, showed love for everyone. They were willing to extend a helping hand to everyone. The Church of our Lord needs more faithful brethren who are willing to love one another as Jesus loved us (John 13:34-35). We need brothers and sisters who practice unfeigned love (Romans 12:9). The Apostle Paul exhorted the saints at Philippi to practice brotherly love when he penned the following words,

Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interest, but also for the interest of others (Philippians 2:1-4).

These exhortations are exemplified in the same chapter with the life of Jesus (Philippians 2:5-11), Timothy (2:19-24), and Epaphroditus (2:25-30). These faithful men showed the kind of love that needs to prevail within the church of Christ. I am confident that Demetrius followed the same example.

GOOD REPUTATION BEFORE THE TRUTH AND FAITHFUL BRETHREN

It is great to know that Demetrius enjoyed great reputation, not only from everyone, but also from the truth itself, and the Apostle John. The faithful Demetrius walked according to the commandments of God. We know this to be the case because the inspired Apostle John tells us so. This man of God was a true example of what the Word of God can do in our lives! When you walk in God’s truth, people will notice that. I am reminded of Acts 4:13, “Now when they beheld the boldness of Peter and John, and had perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.” The Apostle Paul also tells us something we can relate to what Luke wrote, “Ye are our epistle, written in our hearts, known and read of all men” (2 Corinthians 3:2). Has the world noticed that we have been with Jesus? What are people reading through our lives? When we let the Word of God work in our lives, this will help us to live a life like the one Demetrius lived.

The Apostle John also bore witness of Demetrius. It is a great blessing to have faithful brethren who are well known among our brotherhood and who can speak well of us. If you are a faithful Christian, brethren who are well known, will never hesitate to write a letter of recommendation for you. I am confident that if Demetrius needed one, the Apostle John would never have said no to this request. We often tell our students to strive to be diligent in their Christian conduct while they study at school, this way, whenever they need a letter of recommendation, if they were a good example, then we would be glad to write one for them. We all need to make every effort to be faithful in our conduct.

DEMETRIUS: NOT A DIOTREPHES

One last thing we can say about Demetrius for sure is that he was not a Diotrephes in his Christian conduct. We can safely conclude that: (1) He did not love to have the preeminence among our brethren, (2) he was not a hindrance to the work of God, and (3) he did not speak evil against the brethren. Sadly to say, today we have some in the church who like to imitate the example of Diotrephes, instead of Demetrius. I have known several brethren who have done this. We must remember that those who imitate that which is good are of God (3 John 11). May the God of heaven and earth help us to be more like Demetrius, and not like Diotrephes!

SEVEN PRACTICAL PRINCIPLES THAT CAN HELP US TO BE MORE LIKE DEMETRIUS

What are some of the things that we can practice in our lives to be more like Demetrius? What can we as Christians do to enjoy a great reputation among our brethren and those outside the body of Christ? Let me suggest a few things we can practice in our daily living, things that will help us tremendously to accomplish a good reputation. Please know that God has given us all things that pertain to life and godliness. These things are found in His Word (2 Peter 1:3).

  1. Remember who we are!

The Bible teaches us that we are the salt of the earth and the light of the world (Matthew 5:13-16). Through our lights, we guide people to Christ. We are also Christians, followers of Jesus Christ (Acts 11:26; 26:28; 1 Peter 4:16), and as such, we follow His example (1 Peter 2:21-22; 1 Corinthians 11:1). Remember that the word “Christian” basically means, “Christ-like.” If we make every effort to remember who we are, then we will always be a good example to others.

  1. We must grow in the knowledge of God’s Word

The knowledge of God’s Word can help us to be ready for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17). This knowledge will inform us as to what we must do in order to enjoy a great reputation before God, our brethren, and those outside the church. God encourages us to grow in the knowledge of His Word (2 Peter 3:18) because He knows that if we do not do this, we will be destroyed (Hosea 4:6; Isaiah 5:13). Only God can tell us what to do to live a faithful life in Christ (Psalm 119:11). I am confident that Demetrius was a diligent student of God’s Word. Are we diligent students of the Bible?

  1. Pray for wisdom

Wisdom helps us to rightly divide the Word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15). God can give us wisdom if we ask Him (James 1:5-6). The practice of wisdom in our lives will help us to develop a great reputation among people (James 3:13; Colossians 4:5). The practice of God’s Word in our lives will help us to be wise people. Notice the great lesson we learned from Deuteronomy 4:6, “Keep therefore and do them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the peoples, that shall hear all these statutes, and say, surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.” We are confident that Demetrius was a wise Christian, and so must we!

  1. Imitate the life of faithful Christians

We have seen in this lesson how the Bible exhorts us to be imitators of good examples (1 Corinthians 4:6; 11:1; Philippians 3:17; 3 John 11). The Bible is replete with great people we can imitate (e.g. Jesus, Paul, Timothy, Epaphroditus, Jeremiah, Ezra, Job, Gaius, Demetrius, etc.). Do we take time to consider the examples we have in the Bible? Do we prayerfully consider living according to their pattern? I really hope we do!

  1. Stay away from bad examples

The Apostle Paul gives us instructions with regards to this point. Notice what he wrote to the Corinthians, “Be not deceived: Evil companionships corrupt good morals” (1 Corinthians 15:33). He also wrote, “know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?” (1 Corinthians 5:6). The writer of Proverbs also gives us instructions with regards to this, “Walk with wise men, and thou shalt be wise; but the companion of fools shall smart for it” (Proverbs 13:20). Let us stay away from anything that can have a negative impact in our lives.

  1. Strive to live a holy life in Christ

A life of holiness can help us tremendously to be a great example to others. With regards to this, the Word of God has a lot to say concerning a holy life. There are plenty of exhortations where we are encouraged to stay away from sin. Let us examine the following verses: “But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof” (Romans 13:14), “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh” (Galatians 5:16), “but like as he who called you is holy, be ye yourselves also holy in all manner of living; because it is written, Ye shall be holy; for I am holy” (1 Peter 1:15-16), “Beloved, I beseech you as sojourners and pilgrims, to abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul” (1 Peter 2:11), “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the vain glory of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth forever” (1 John 2:15-17). These are some of the exhortations that can help us to live a faithful life in Christ. Anyone who follows these will make it to heaven (Hebrews 12:14; Matthew 5:8).

  1. Be a doer of God’s Word

There is no way to accomplish a good example in life unless we practice what the Word of God teaches. Let us remember that our heavenly Father will only bless those who practice His Word (James 1:22-25; Luke 11:28). And so, with this in mind, let me encourage us to prayerfully consider all the things we have learned in this lesson. This is the only way to experience a change of life for the better. We must remember that God gave us His Word, not only for our information, but also for our transformation.

CONCLUSION

What a great study this has been! It is always a great blessing to study the life of those faithful brothers and sisters in Christ who served the Lord in His kingdom. Demetrius is a great example to follow with regards to a good example. We thank God for giving us a pattern to follow. The question is: Will we imitate the example of those who lived a faithful life in Christ? Will we also be a good example to others? I pray that we will always live as the salt of the earth and the light of the world (Matthew 5:13-16). By doing this, our heavenly Father, will be glorified!

Willie A. Alvarenga

P.O. BOX 210667

Bedford, TX 76095

(817) 268 3222; 545 4004; 681 4543

backtothebible75@yahoo.com

www.backtobibleknowledge.com

[1] American Standard Version. 1995 (3 Jn 12). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

[2] J. R. Dummelow, Commentary on the Holy Bible (New York: The Macmillan Company, 1937), p. 1062.

By willie75

Special Announcement

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT

Brown Trail School of Preaching has been preparing men to be “men of the Book” since 1965. Presently we have graduates serving in 30 states and 21 foreign countries. We have a rich heritage of preparing men to “preach the truth in love” as God would have us to do and wish to continue to do so.

Over the past several years we have been fortunate enough to have several large donations of estates, property or funds from wills that have helped us pay the monthly bills of the school when the regular donations were less than needed. This year, though, we have not been so fortunate. Because of this, we are contacting congregations asking if there is a possibility of them including us in their budget for 2016 and, perhaps, beyond. What we are looking for is 150 congregations or individuals who will put us in their budgets for $100.00 per month (of course any amount would be appreciated!). Can we count on you to help?

If you would like, a representative of the school, Robert Stapleton (Director), Willie Alvarenga (Director of the Spanish Department) Jesse Martinez (Spanish Instructor) or Tavaris Armstrong (Field Representative) would be happy to visit with you to discuss this matter at your convenience. Or, if you need additional information, please feel free to contact any of us at 817-268-3222.

Thank you for your kind consideration of our needs!

By willie75

Welcome to Back to Bible Knowledge

Welcome to my Website Back to Bible Knowledge. The purpose of this site is to provide biblical information that can help us  grow in the knowledge of God’s Holy Word. We are encouraged through the Bible to learn more and more about God’s will for us (2 Peter 3:18; 2 Timothy 2:15). This website will provide articles, sermon outlines, sermons on PowerPoint, lectureship books that are available on a free PDF file, helpful links for Bible study purposes and much more. I hope and pray that you can benefit from the information you will find here. Please feel free to use this material to the glory and honor of our heavenly Father.

Willie A. Alvarenga

backtothebible75@yahoo.com

Willie Alvarenga

By willie75