They Sing Praises To The LORD
Imagine if you will all of the heavenly host of God’s angels gathered before his throne to sing praise to the King of Kings and Lord of lords. As they stand to sing before the throne they instead turn and face one another. They begin to sing their song not to God, but instead to one another. They tell each other what God is like; they sing of how they should praise their God, (but they never do). They encourage one another in their songs to love, worship, and serve their God, but while they sing their backs are turned away from God. They seem to have forgotten that God is in their presence. They sing of Him but they never sing to Him. That may seem like a tragic scene in Heaven, but it is the same tragic seen that takes place in many churches every Sunday. We stand and sing about our God while falling short of truly singing praises to our God.
Christians sing to God, because God is the object and recipient of all biblical praise. To sing a song of praise in the assembly of the saints and direct the song to the saints is nothing short a blasphemy. The church is not the object of our song nor the receiver of its message. All biblical praise offered up to God by the church must always be directed in its language toward God himself. Although this seems basic to the core principles of praise it is one of the least practiced elements in modern worship. Perhaps the reason is because when we sing we do not see our God on His throne, only his church standing around us. It is natural for us to communicate our songs to those we can see in the pews each week instead of to the one we are actually singing to. Singing praise to God must then be considered a sacrifice of spiritual communication. We sing through eyes of faith to a God on a throne we cannot yet see. We spiritually block out all that is going on around us and focus our attention on the God we long to worship. We believe He is there, we believe He can hear, we believe He is worthy of praise and so by faith we sing to the…
Immortal, invisible, God only wise,
In light inaccessible hid from our eyes,
Most blessed, most glorious, the Ancient of Days,
Almighty, victorious, Thy great Name we praise.
Meditate on the meaning of the following Scriptures:
When Christians sing they...
sing to the LORD. We sing TO the Lord not just FOR the Lord. The Song of Moses is the first praise song recorded in the Bible and it is also according to Revelation 15:3 the last praise song recorded in the Bible. This reveals the eternal nature of songs of praise. In the past our songs were directed to the Lord, in the present they should be directed to the Lord and in the future they will most certainly be directed to the Lord. God desires to hear you praise Him for all that he has done for you. He does not simply wish to hear you tell others about Him; He wants you to sing directly to Him.
“Then Moses and the people of Israel sang this song to the LORD, saying, "I will sing to the LORD, for he has triumphed gloriously; the horse and his rider he has thrown into the sea. ...
And Miriam sang to them: "Sing to the LORD, for he has triumphed gloriously; the horse and his rider he has thrown into the sea."
Exodus 15:1, 21 ESV
When Christians sing they...
use both song and music not just for God but more importantly to God.
"Hear, O kings; give ear, O princes; to the LORD I will sing; I will make melody to the LORD, the God of Israel.”
Judges 5:3 ESV
When Christians sing they...
sing TO the Lord because the unconverted nations of the world need to see that we do not sing to a dead god of the past but to a living Lord on His throne. Addressing Christ personally in the lyrics of our songs reveals to the world around us the faith we have in his resurrection. Since praise is eternal we not only sing of what our God has done in the past but also of what He is doing in the present and will do in the future.
“For this I will praise you, O LORD, among the nations, and sing to your name.”
Psalm 18:49 ESV
“I will give thanks to you, O Lord, among the peoples; I will sing praises to you among the nations.”
Psalm 57:9 ESV
“I will be glad and exult in you; I will sing praise to your name, O Most High.”
“Sing praises to the LORD, who sits enthroned in Zion! Tell among the peoples his deeds”
Psalm 9:2, 11 ESV
“Sing praises to God, sing praises! Sing praises to our King, sing praises!”
“For God is the King of all the earth; sing praises with a psalm!”
Psalm 47:6-7 ESV
"For this I will praise you, O LORD, among the nations, and sing praises to your name.”
2 Samuel 22:50 ESV
When Christians sing they...
sing To Him!, To Him!, To Him! This should be the passionate cry of all Christians. “Not unto us, O LORD, not unto us, but to Your name give glory…” Psalm 115:1 This is why when Christians sing they sing TO the Lord.
“Sing to him, sing praises to him; tell of all his wondrous works! ...”
“Sing to the LORD, all the earth! Tell of his salvation from day to day.”
1 Chronicles 16:9, 23 ESV
“And when he had taken counsel with the people, he appointed those who were to sing to the LORD and praise him in holy attire, as they went before the army, and say, "Give thanks to the LORD, for his steadfast love endures forever."
“And when they began to sing and praise, the LORD set an ambush against the men of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir, who had come against Judah, so that they were routed.”
2 Chronicles 20:21-22 ESV
When Christians sing they...
sing to the Lord because they are the living temples of God. The Levites were a priesthood set apart by God for praise and worship in the temple of God. In like matter we are a holy priesthood set apart for the praise and worship of our savior Jesus Christ. We are not forced by a command of the King of Israel, but of grateful hearts we continually offer up the sacrifice of praise to our God in the church which is His living temple.
“And Hezekiah the king and the officials commanded the Levites to sing praises to the LORD with the words of David and of Asaph the seer. And they sang praises with gladness, and they bowed down and worshiped.”
2 Chronicles 29:30 ESV
“I will give to the LORD the thanks due to his righteousness, and I will sing praise to the name of the LORD, the Most High”
Psalm 7:17 ESV
When Christians sing they...
sing TO the Lord for it provides an opportunity to reveal to the world the deeds our God is doing now. We do not simply sing because of what he has done but find great joy in singing to Him about what he is doing.
“I will sing to the LORD, because he has dealt bountifully with me.
Psalm 13:6 ESV
When Christians sing they...
corporately sing the same praises to God. Since God is no respecter of persons and has dispensed his grace equally on us all we can all sing in unity the same praises together.
“Be exalted, O LORD, in your strength! We will sing and praise your power.”
Psalm 21:13 ESV
“And now my head shall be lifted up above my enemies all around me, and I will offer in his tent sacrifices with shouts of joy; I will sing and make melody to the LORD.”
Psalm 27:6 ESV
When Christians sing they...
sing TO the Lord because it is their highest glory to praise the name of Christ.
“Sing praises to the LORD, O you his saints, and give thanks to his holy name.”
“that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give thanks to you forever!”
Psalm 30:4, 12 ESV
When Christians sing they...
sing new songs, because our God’s mercy is new every morning. We see our God on His throne high and lifted up; he has forgiven us our sins again today. This morning he renewed his love toward us and again He will do it tomorrow which causes our hearts to shout and play music and sing new songs of praise TO the Lord our King.
“Sing to him a new song; play skillfully on the strings, with loud shouts.”
Psalm 33:3 ESV
“Oh sing to the LORD a new song; sing to the LORD, all the earth!”
Psalm 96:1 ESV
“Oh sing to the LORD a new song, for he has done marvelous things! His right hand and his holy arm have worked salvation for him.”
Psalm 98:1 ESV
“I will sing a new song to you, O God; upon a ten-stringed harp I will play to you,”
Psalm 144:9 ESV
“Sing to the LORD a new song, his praise from the end of the earth, you who go down to the sea, and all that fills it, the coastlands and their inhabitants.”
Isaiah 42:10 ESV
When Christians sing they...
sing TO the Lord because no man on earth can remove the guilt of past sins. The sweet and wonderful truths of a praise song remind us of the blessed reality of our salvation in Him. We praise Him today because we know He will not condemn us tomorrow.
“Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, O God of my salvation, and my tongue will sing aloud of your righteousness.”
Psalm 51:14 ESV
“But I will sing of your strength; I will sing aloud of your steadfast love in the morning. For you have been to me a fortress and a refuge in the day of my distress.”
“ O my Strength, I will sing praises to you, for you, O God, are my fortress, the God who shows me steadfast love.”
Psalm 59:16-17 ESV
“So will I ever sing praises to your name, as I perform my vows day after day.”
Psalm 61:8 ESV
Some may mourn at the time of a miscarriage but I cannot. Known to God before the foundation of the world was His sovereign plan to rescue my child from the pains of this world in order to give him the joys of the next. My child is in the presence of eternal joy! If I must shed tears let it be tears of joy for the happiness of the salvation of my child. The apostle John once said: “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.” (3 John 1:4) My joy today is that my child not only walks in truth but is holding the hand of the man of truth: Jesus Christ.
The goal of every godly parent is to see their children walk with Jesus. With a miscarriage you get to see that at the beginning of life instead of the end. I am convinced that miscarriages are the greatest proof of God’s love for children. Who are we to refuse God’s joy in bringing little children to Himself. After all “Jesus said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matt. 19:14) If God’s love for children is so strong that He is willing to bypass the trials and tribulations of this life so that they may enjoy His Kingdom forever, then I am content in His merciful choice for my child’s future. “I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me.” (II Sam. 12:23) I rejoice not in the death of my child but in the salvation of his eternal soul. He is forever the Lord’s which also means that he is forever mine. I love you son (or daughter) and look forward to the day when we will bow our knees together before the throne of our great God.
Pastor Dan Hager
You’ve heard the old adage; “out of sight out of mind” haven’t you? For no one is this more true than for our wonderful seniors and shut-ins. They are some of the most precious people in our church. Yet they are so easily forgotten by their church family because we rarely see them on Sunday mornings. Nothing breaks a pastor’s heart more than to see these vital church members forgotten or even worse treated as unimportant. King Solomon once said: “Gray hair is a crown of glory; it is gained in a righteous life.” Proverbs 16:31 ESV The Bible says in the book of Isaiah that God cares for the elderly; “Even to your old age I am he, and to gray hairs I will carry you. I have made, and I will bear; I will carry and will save.” Isaiah 46:4 ESV If God said He would help the elderly then we as the children of God should be like our Heavenly Father and care for them to. For some this may be our last year to show them the love of Christ and pray together. Let’s make the most of 2016 while we still can!
Make it a goal in 2016 to visit, call or write some of our seniors and shut-ins. Let them know they are loved by their church family and missed every week. Let them know we are praying for them this year because we know they are praying for us. Below you will find a list of men and women who could use some encouragement from us this year. I’m sure my mind will forget a few names that should be listed here so please add to this list as needed.
8301 Tieton Drive #53 Yakima, WA 98908
18 W Washington Ave, #65, Yakima, WA 98902
129 N 52nd Ave, Yakima, WA 98908
118 N. 55th Avenue Yakima, WA 98908
David & Jenice Hixon
1408 Glaspey Lane, Yakima, WA 98903
1501 West Chestnut #4 Yakima 98902
Willa Dene Powell
Orchard Park, 620 N 34th Ave, Rm.307
Yakima, WA 98902
8301 Tieton Drive, Space 37, Yakima, WA 98908
10 S 8th Ave, #415, Yakima, WA 98902
Bob and Sue Wilson
2319 S 4th Ave Union Gap, 98903
Dear Church family,
As I have been reflecting over the events of the past year and looking forward to the progress of the coming year, I am reminded of how precious you are to me. Without your faithfulness, our doors would have been closed long ago. Without your generosity in giving to missions, the lost would not hear the good news of Jesus. Without your labor of love and sacrificial giving, our renovation would have never happened. Without all our volunteers working on the building and grounds, our property would soon fall apart. Without your joyful voices singing together each Sunday morning, our worship would be dull and lifeless. Without our volunteers faithfully working with our children each week, the life of our church would be sucked dry. I could continue; but what I am trying to say is that without you, we would not have a church. I am most thankful for your commitment and faithfulness to the Lord and His church this year. It has been my highest honor and greatest joy to serve as your pastor this year. I know in many regards I am a lousy leader with much to learn. I thank you for your patience with me as I discover each day what it means to lead a church. I have a lot to learn and little time to learn it. My heart wants what will lead to your greatest good and God's highest glory. My commitment is to uncompromising faithfulness to the Word of God and the proclamation of His gospel throughout the Yakima valley. My goal is that every decision I make for the church would be perfectly in line with the will of God. I wish to live my life in such a way that the people of The Cross Church would prosper the most from my daily activities. If Christ thought you were worth shedding His blood for on the cross, then may I be so committed to do the same. If my Savior gave all His life for your good, then so will I.
As we look forward to the opportunities given to us in this New Year, I ask for your team support once again. The return of Christ, I believe, is coming soon. We have an opportunity in 2016 to prepare Yakima for the return of Christ. Pray with me like never before for the salvation of our community and the growth and revival of our church.
There are five things I would like to challenge our church to do faithfully in 2016:
I would like to invite all the men in our church to join me on Saturdays at 5:00 pm in my office as we seek the Lord together. Also, I would like to encourage the ladies in the church to pray on Tuesdays at 10:00 am in the auditorium. Make time in your daily schedule to pray like never before in your Christian life.
READ THE BIBLE
I am encouraging the whole church to read the whole Bible this year. For many of you this will be the first time you have ever read from Genesis to Revelation. It will be hard and will take time away from your normal schedule, but be faithful; I believe you can do it. This will change your life in more ways than you can imagine.
FELLOWSHIP WITH OTHER CHRISTIANS
It would be impossible to overstate how important this crucial activity is for the local church. NEVER let a week go by without spending some time with your fellow brothers and sisters outside the walls of the church. We need each other more now than ever before. Invite someone you don't know over for dinner this week. When a new family starts coming to our church find ways to get together with them. Visit our shut-ins and let them know we love and miss them. On Sunday mornings, instead of doing your regular routine, look around the auditorium for someone you haven't talked to in a while and spend some time catching up. Pay attention to who has been missing services and give them a call that week. Let them know you missed them and that church just isn't the same without them. The bottom line is really all about loving each other the way Christ loved us. Look around at church this week and ask: “Who in this room needs me to love them?”
INVITE OTHERS TO FAITH IN CHRIST
The buffet of God’s grace will feed more than just us. To not share the goodness of God with others is the epitome of selfishness. Part of being a Christian includes a healthy natural care and concern for the needs of others. There is no greater need in our community than the need of salvation of men and women who will certainly go to hell without our gospel proclamation. What will you do to rescue the perishing and care for the dying? Will souls be saved from the fires of Hell this year because you did or said something to bring them to Christ? You are Gods' plan A to reach Yakima and He has no plan B. Start each day by asking God to reveal ways you could reach the lost. While you're praying to God for that remember to pray for your pastor as well. Witnessing to strangers is my greatest challenge. I should be leading by example but fear I have set a poor example this year. But I believe that if you would pray for me every day, God would give me victory over my fears. Know this: that I will be praying for you every day. Our city needs us too much not to be praying for each other's strength.
When you come to church on Sundays, give God your most passionate worship. Enjoy His exaltation like never before. Lift holy hands before His throne and bow humble hearts before His cross. Let us not just sing, but do as the Psalmist said and shout to the Lord a joyous sound. Let your hearts fill to over flowing with the never-ending truth that He has saved you! Let the reality of that truth consume your joy and lead you to tears and shouts of worship to the One who saved your soul. I pray that our time together on Sunday mornings would be filled with happy exuberance over the unimaginable grace that has been given us in Christ. I pray that we would stand before His throne as the most joyous creatures of His creation. May no one ever leave one of our services with the opinion that we have left our first love. Let the opposite be true. Let our visitors see that at The Cross Church Jesus is our first love and it is felt throughout the entire congregation.
If we faithfully commit ourselves to these five things throughout 2016, I believe God will bless our church in miraculous ways. Please do these things for the Lord since He has proven Himself worthy of our service in 2016!
Your pastor who loves you,
“The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.” ~ Richard Dawkins
“The God of the Old Testament is utterly unlike the God believed in by most practicing Christians … His justice is, by modern standards, outrageous…. He is biased, querulous, vindictive, and jealous of his prerogatives.” ~ Charles Templeton
“The Bible tells us to be like God, and then on page after page it describes God as a mass murderer.” ~ Robert Anton Wilson
My title begs the question: How could a moral God kill women and little children? This is an honest question being asked by many today, but it seems that not many Christians are willing to answer it honestly. In an effort to try and answer this question quickly let me pose the question in a different way. How could a moral God be good to anyone and still remain moral? At first glance you might think that is a ridiculous statement. The answer to both questions is more closely related than you might think. By all definitions of “moral” God should not love and rescue anyone and yet He does. Let me explain. If God were to judge you based on the commandments in the Bible on Judgment Day, do you think you will be declared innocent or guilty? Now remember all it takes is one sin (James 2:10) to be declared guilty and to deserve punishment. The sad reality is that everyone from childhood has broken Gods laws and must face Him on judgment day as a criminal. Hebrews 9:27 tells us: “it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment”. The reality of your life is that one day you will stand before God guilty of breaking His laws and face the judgment to follow. The Bible describes this judgment as a place of fire and torment called Hell. 2 Thessalonians 1:8 says: “in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Matthew 10:28 Says: “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Matthew 25:46 Says: “And these (sinners) will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life." A according to the Bible every man, woman, boy and girl has sinned against God from birth and must be punished, and God is not morally obligated to rescue any of these from death. The harsh reality of mankind’s condition before a holy and just God is that He can execute His judgment of death on anyone at any time. Once sin entered the world God proclaimed the death sentence on all humanity from Adam to you. Although some He has chosen to rescue according to the good pleasure of His will (Ephesians 1:4-5) the rest He has the right to destroy at any time and in any way He chooses. Whether it is children who died as a result of the flood or by His commandments to Israel in the Old Testament or the elderly person in the nursing home down the street; all who are unforgiven will face His judgment at some time. Therefore God’s love, mercy and grace must be understood within the context of unmerited redemption. Since all from birth are under the wrath of God; it is only a loving, merciful, gracious God that would show compassion to a few excluded from any merit of their own. So the question should not be, Why would He kill some?, but why doesn’t He kill all? If God is morally obligated to practice the requirements of the law fairly on all, then why does He allow some to be saved? This is an extremely important question that all Christians should know the answer to because it is what the gospel hinges on. I will answer that question later, but for today I just want to answer the first question. Why would a moral God kill women and little children? Answer: because He is Moral. That is the answer that most Christians are too afraid to give. Yet it is the only one that Scripture yields. God is just, holy and fair with all regardless of who they are because the Bible says that God is not a respecter of persons. So instead of complaining about the judgments of God try meditating on the inexplicable love and mercy of God He gives to all who ask. “God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” II Peter 3:9
This was original published HERE on August 4, 2014,
by Jerome Gay
There’s a lot of talk amongst evangelicals about diversity and why Dr. King’s statement of Sunday being the most segregated day of the week still exists.
There are a ton of blogs and sermons on the subject and with the landscape of America changing—if we’re honest—the Church is late on this issue. But, as in all things, there’s grace for us leaders trying to change our homogenous expressions to reflect a more diverse display which accurately reflects the city in which we exist.
I recently had a convo with another African-American pastor who doesn’t think diversity is something we should pursue and his reason was “white people won’t follow us,” and as a result he sees nothing wrong with an 100% African-American church.
I’ve spoken with a Caucasian pastor who’s reason for not seeking it as a priority is “homogeny is easier to manage and multiply.” This pragmatic approach was enough for him and his elders to totally ignore a segment of the population.
The responses are all over the board and I’ve even experienced people leaving the church I pastor because they felt like reaching out to other cultures was somehow selling out to the majority culture and seeking “acceptance.” This is clearly a hot-button topic with a myriad of views, but I rejoice in the fact that there are many willing to be uncomfortable and even lose people to fight for something that is clearly a byproduct of the gospel.
"Diversity isn't the gospel, but diversity is the fruit of the gospel being preached, pursued, and propagated in diverse contexts."
While I rejoice in the fact that many are talking about and more importantly pursing this truth, I think it’s important that we clearly communicate our goal: authentic gospel-centered community. In other words, we want more that just blacks, whites, Asians, Latinos, Indians, etc., coming to a service. We want them engaging in each others lives. Albert Tate says it best in Letters to a Birmingham Jail, “the question isn’t guess who’s coming to church, but rather guess who’s coming to dinner?” (168). We have to think beyond a Sunday gathering and onto actual life-on-life engagement.
Here are five things I think we can do to pursue and realize diverse gospel-centered community:
1. Celebrate It
We have a ton of interracial couples, mixed babies and people of different races at our church and I love it. I’ll admit we’re only at 20% non-African-American, but last year we were only at 5%, so God is at work as we intentionally pursue this. I want to intentionally celebrate marriages, engagements, new members and ministry that’s happening. We do this whether people are of the same race or different races, but celebrating the diversity you have even if it’s small is HUGE for those that are the minority within your congregation.
2. Platform and Empower
It’s not enough to have a black emcee or sing at a predominately white congregation or vice-versa, it’s vital that you’re actively seeking to empower people of different races on the executive level of your church. I’m not saying to make someone an elder just because their different racially and culturally, but in order to have diverse eldership/leadership it has to be something that you intentionally pursue. If you allow the other races to ONLY sing, emcee or lead prayer it’s just a matter of time before the work “tokenism” will come up and you’ll have to own it. Yes, this gets dicey and tricky, but again the fight for diverse community goes beyond just a diverse worship service. It must involve diverse ideas and leadership on the executive level. I’m not against the aforementioned of having diverse choirs, praise teams, emcees, etc., but let’s be internal about not stopping there.
3. Learn the Stories of Others
It’s hard to appreciate anyone from a distance and it’s vital that we read, listen and watch those that we want to worship Christ with us. It’s good to ask for books, preachers, teachers and historians that will help you understand the cultures of those that are in your church. This will make people feel welcome and like you genuinely want them to be part of your church family. I’m not presenting this as a marketing strategy, but we should genuinely want to know those around us as a response to the gospel we’ve received.
4. Acknowledge Your Own Prejudice
As much as we talk about the depth of sin and how dark our hearts are without Christ it seems like many evangelicals think that sin, as it relates to race, is a “no fly zone” that no one struggles with. You and I have prejudices and it hurts to admit it, but by God’s grace he reveals them to us so we can turn from them and turn to him.
"The gospel is not color blind,
Pursuing diversity will actually reveal more prejudice than you and I know about ourselves and while this may sound like a bad thing, it’s actually a good thing. The sooner we own it the sooner we can turn from it. I say this all the time: the gospel is not color blind, it’s color-engaging. I don’t need to be blind to those around me that are different and I don’t need to act like I don’t at times make assumptions about them. The key is to not be led by those assumptions and prejudices and allow God to use a diverse community to shape us more into his image.
5. Allow and Apply Grace
If you’re pursuing this because we’re in a fallen world someone in your church is going to make a joke, statement or act that offends someone of the opposite race. This is why the gospel is so central because we need allow people to make mistakes, but not enable outright sin as it relates to the thoughts and actions toward others. Make no mistake about it, grace will be needed daily, but if we pursue diversity beyond Sunday we’ll see our people develop a genuine appreciation for each other.
I’m praying for you as you aggressively pursue diverse community in your city. What a beautiful testimony it is to see people that normally wound’t hang together united around the gospel. I’ll end with this story:
We recently had an 86-year old man join us for one of our worship gatherings. He came with one of our elders, he and his wife shared with my elder how much they enjoyed the service and how it blessed them, but there was something he shared with Pastor Irvin (an elder at Vision Church) that stood out to me. He said that he had never seen whites and blacks worship Christ together in all of his years of going to church. Think about that, 86 years on this earth and he had never seen it. A white young lady that sings on our praise team also greeted and hugged him and he said that was the first time anyone white had intentionally embraced him. He was blown away, but what was he blown away by? It wasn’t the fact that Lizzie (lady from praise team) is white, but that the gospel brought us together and leads to engage and embrace those that are different than us. I pray that this vision will encourage you to pursue this aggressively, because you never know who will be blown away by what the gospel does when set set-aside cultural preferences and pursue the gospel out of love for Christ and love of neighbor.
Throughout history it has been the men who were the pace setters when it comes to gospel outreach. Men lead the way, pave the path and lay the foundation for the church to follow. As a pastor I have shared my heart and the gospel doctrine with the men of our church for the last several weeks and now I am calling on them to share with me in the work of the gospel. I am pleading with our men to commit with me to these three basic Christian commands:
1. Study the gospel – Become a man who knows how to tell the gospel
2. Share the gospel – Become a man who weekly tells the gospel to strangers
3. Show the gospel – Become a man who lives the life of the gospel before others
Paul told Timothy in II Tim. 2:2 that: the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. Our church men will cease to exist if we are not willing to overcome our fears and commit ourselves to daily radical gospel proclamation. This mission will never be accomplished by lone rangers but by faithful men who are accountable to each other for the sake of the gospel. We need each other to be successful in this work. Paul was a spiritual giant in the early church, but even Paul admitted that he couldn’t administer the gospel alone: he needed help! Paul’s final words to the men in 1 Corinthians 16 was:
13 Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong.
14 Let all that you do be done with love.
15 I urge you, brethren --- you know the household of Stephanas, that it is the firstfruits of Achaia, and that they have devoted themselves to the ministry of the saints ---
16 that you also submit to such, and to everyone who works and labors with us.
17 I am glad about the coming of Stephanas, Fortunatus, and Achaicus, for what was lacking on your part they supplied.
18 For they refreshed my spirit and yours. Therefore acknowledge such men.
Paul said the things that were lacking the men took care of and because of that his soul was refreshed. The church in Corinth desperately needed those men to lead and lead they did. At The Cross Church we need men like that of Paul’s day. Men who will Watch over the needs of the church and the lost of their city. Men who will stand fast in the faith and doctrine that has been passed down to us by other faithful men. Men who will be brave, and be strong in the face of this fearful ministry of the gospel. Men who will look back to our founding church fathers and say: “By God’s grace we will do that!” Paul needed to remind the Christians living in Thessalonica what kind of men it took to start the church there. He told them in 1 Thessalonians 1:5 For our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Spirit and in much assurance, as you know what kind of men we were among you for your sake. For the sake of the Thessalonica church plant the men preached the gospel in power and in the filling of the Holy Spirit. This is the kind of men we need today if a new church will be planted in this city. Men who will go to the streets and preach Jesus until they come, men who will pray on their knees until He answers, men who will serve until their Master returns. As Jesus sent out His disciples two by two I am calling on the men in our church to seek out and find an accountability partner who will help you in your great commission ministry. Someone who will go with you to seek and to save those who are perishing in our city. Someone you can pray with about the needs of the lost. Someone who will keep you accountable to the ministry God has called us Christian men to. Men, we need each other and our city needs us to work together for the glory of Christ and the mission of the gospel. I your pastor am commissioning you to obey Christ’s command and GO!