Harris Malcom, state missionary
Middle Georgia Region
Richard Baxter wrote, “If there be so certain and glorious a rest for the saints, why is there no more industrious seeking after it! One would think, if a man did once hear of such unspeakable glory to be obtained, and believed what he heard to be true, he should be transported with the vehemency of his desire after it, and should almost forget to eat and drink, and should care for nothing else, and speak of and inquire after nothing else, but how to get this treasure. And yet people who hear of it daily, and profess to believe it as a fundamental article of their faith, do as little mind it, or labour for it, as if they had never heard of any such thing, or did not believe one word they hear.”
We began this study with the question, “Why Am I Here?” We have learned that it is sin that got us into this mess and only Jesus who can get us out. Jesus came into the world to save sinners like you and me.
Once we come to Christ we are called to “follow Him,” “walk in Him,” and “grow up in Him.” We are also called to share Him with others. We are to tell our story. The amazing thing about your story is that no one else can share it like you because it is your story of His grace in your life.
Leading others to faith in Christ
A spirit-filled Peter has just preached one of the greatest gospel messages ever. He preached Jesus crucified, risen, and glorified. Those listening and hearing were so convicted that they asked, “What shall we do?” He told them to be saved, baptized, and become devoted followers of Christ.
That answer has not changed. When someone responds to the Gospel message that is the answer that they need. People who join the church or turn over a new leaf are just as far away as they have ever been. The prodigal son was far away until he returned in repentance. Nicodemus was far away until learning that “you must be born again.”
Peter also reminds us that the gospel is for everyone. It is for those who are far away because if you are not saved, you are far away from God no matter who you are. The moral person away from God is just as lost as the immoral person away from God. Lostness is not about morality or immorality, it is about iniquity and sin. The promise, Peter says, “is for you and your children and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself.”
The Bible says, “The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.” The Bible says, “whosoever will may come.”
I remember when I got saved. There was sorrow, repentance, and joy. There were tears, but they were tears of joy. There was an excitement because I had passed from death to life. Now, I did not understand all that was happening to me, but I still talked about it. I did not understand my full position in Christ, but I remember the next day at school telling my friends “I got saved yesterday.”
The day of salvation is the most important day in anyone’s life.
The Bible speaks of “this day.” Paul writes, “at the acceptable time I listened to you, And on the day of salvation I helped you.” Behold, now is “the acceptable time,” behold, now is “the day of salvation” (2 Cor. 6:2).
Leading the saved to grow in their faith
Paul wrote to the church at Colossae, “Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed and overflowing with gratitude” (2:6-7).
A new believer is a work of God. An old believer is also a work of God. One may be farther down the road of sanctification than the other, but the calling and duty is the same. We are to “grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ” (Eph. 4:15).
Therefore, our walk is different and our talk is different. The spirit of our mind is renewed and we have put on the new self. We are changed people called to live like it. Time and space will not allow much detail here, but an in-depth look into Ephesians 4 will be helpful.
There are a number of things that will help a believer grow, among which are daily time in the Word of God and prayer and weekly fellowship with the people of God.
Living a life that brings honor to the Father
In the early days of the church things were good. There was a hunger for the Word of God, a sense of the fear of God, and a demonstration of the power of God. These are elements that seem to be lacking in the lives of many church members and even church leaders.
However, when these very important elements are evident in the life of a believer, servanthood will flow. There will be a desire to share resources, share fellowship, and most important, share Jesus.
In our text we find a church that is vibrant and growing. It was a church that had God’s attention and favor. People were being saved and disciples were being made.
The bottom line is that our lives are to bring glory to God.