Closing the Account

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We often hear this statement, “I wish that the pastor would stop preaching on giving and get back to preaching the Gospel.” I want to tell you that it is impossible to preach the Gospel without preaching on giving. The Gospel is giving–“God so loved the world that He gave.” The glorious Christian message is, “The gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ.” Jesus said to His followers, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”

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By Rick L. Wyser

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Romans 14:12

I believe that in order for the church to be successful she must define her purpose and then put them in order of priorities. The question must be asked, “What is the highest priority?” I believe that the highest priority of the church, the first purpose, is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ. That through this gospel the Spirit of God may awaken in the hearts of people a holy urge to become true disciples and, accepting the consequences of this discipleship, to live in the service of the Lord today and forever.

I have known many people who have given no consideration whatever to what it means to be a follower of Christ. The disappointing result is that they miss the joy and purpose of Christian discipleship. To judge by their witness both within and without the church you would think that God was dead or at best He is optional.

There is an ever-present danger for any individual to grow up in the church in the false security of a borrowed faith. We pay our respects to God because our parents did or someone else that we respect did. We do so because it is the decent thing to do. We place our tithe and offering in the plate with less appreciation for what God has done for us than the bellman who carries our luggage up to our hotel room. The trouble with borrowed faith is that it creates more problems than it overcomes. Surely it is not the faith Paul spoke of when he proclaimed that through faith in the Lord we can “do all things.” The longer I am in the ministry of the Lord and the church the more convinced I am that too many people are trying to cope with sin and all the problems and sorrow and suffering that it creates with a second-hand faith. A faith based on hearsay rather than personal experience. Paul, in our text, deals with this basic principal of faith, “every one of us shall give an account of himself to God.” Paul mentions no exceptions—”everyone”—certainly it is wonderful to be blessed with a mother and father that serve God—to know that when they stand before God that they will hear well done. But regardless of well they lived their lives, or anyone else for that matter, they will be in no position to answer for us. As Paul tells us, “it is everyone for themselves.

We need to ponder this because until we can say for ourselves, “I know whom I have believed—I know that I have passed from death to life—I know that the gospel is the power of God unto salvation”—we are not right with God.

The church is greatly concerned that you come face to face with the Lord in His gospel. What the eyes of the first apostles saw you must see too. You must see Jesus Christ high and lifted up. You must experience salvation for yourself. This is the greatest moment in human experience. When we become aware of the love of God for us our entire attitude toward the church is changed. We don’t mind the things we are called upon to do. We do not shrink from our responsibilities toward the church. But we go on our knees to pray and search the scriptures for God’s will in our lives and the strength to do His will. No longer so we live by the spirit of the world, which has gone crazy insisting that man has the right to do as he pleases. As Paul says, “It is no longer I that live—but Christ lives in me—for me to live is Christ.”

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