OceanSide church of Christ
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HALF-WAY THROUGH JANUARY
Have You Been Working on Fulfilling Our Theme?
Victor M. Eskew
Time flies. We have all heard these two words. We have all experienced the truthfulness of these two words. The opening line of the old hymn is certainly true: “Swiftly we’re turning life’s daily pages, swiftly the hours are changing to years…” Job expressed how quickly time flies with these words: “My days are swifter than a weaver’s shuttle…” (Job 7:6).
It is hard to believe that we are now two weeks into 2018. If we blink, 2019 will be upon us. We have noted how quickly time is passing in connection with our theme this year: “Just One Soul.” Thirteen full days have passed since our theme began. How many of us have been working on fulfilling our theme for this year? Most of us have been thinking about it, but few of us have probably been making diligent strides in saving that one, precious soul. We want to mention some things that each of us should be doing to make certain we are participants in our theme for 2018.
First, we need to identify several souls that we want to be seeking this year. They may be relatives, friends, neighbors, co-workers, or just casual associates. The reason we encourage you to identify several is because you may have to ask several for a study before you get one to do so. This action should be easy for us to do. There are billions of lost souls on the earth. All of us know many of them. Let’s identify a few that we would like to seriously be seeking in 2018.
Second, let’s begin to pray for the salvation of those we have identified. Paul was a Jew and loved his Jewish brothers and sisters. In Romans 10:1, he reveals how he prayed for their salvation. “Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved.” It is not our prayer that will save them. However, we can pray that their hearts will be opened for a study. We can pray that situations develop in their lives that will cause them to desire a study. We can pray that their hearts will be good and honest as they go through the study. We can pray for all obstacles to be removed that are hindering their willingness to study. Dear reader, we should begin immediately to pray for those we want to see won to the Lord this year.
Third, we are going to have to increase our knowledge, especially our knowledge of false doctrines that exist in our world. Just showing others the simple plan of salvation will not convert most individuals. Their minds have been filled with the doctrines of men. They have been shown how to argue against spiritual truths. We must be ready to answer their questions and to confront their objections. Peter exhorts us to be able to do this in I Peter 3:15. “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear.” What would you say to someone who says that the kingdom will come in the future? How would you respond to someone who argues that baptism is a work and that we are not saved by works? What answer would you give to someone who believes Jesus is a created being? These and hundreds of other subjects come up during Bible studies. We must prepare ourselves in order to give an answer.
Fourth, we need to muster the courage to approach our family and friends with the gospel. The word “courage” means “to have heart.” We are often scared to approach people because we know they will react negatively to our words. We are fearful because we believe that we are going to be rejected. These feelings are normal, but we must overcome them with courage. When Ezekiel was sent to the children of Israel, they were described as “impudent and hardhearted” (Ezek. 3:7). In this same verse, God says: “But the house of Israel will not hearken unto you…” Knowing that these words might discourage the prophet, God continued with this message to Ezekiel: “Behold, I have made thy face strong against their faces, and thy forehead strong against their foreheads. As an adamant harder than flint have I made thy forehead: fear them not, neither be dismayed at their looks, though they be a rebellious house” (Ezek. 3:8-9). Our courage must be greater and stronger than our fear. We must be convinced that these individuals are lost, that we have the truth that can save them, and that it is our responsibility to share this truth with them.
Fifth, we must be willing to sacrifice our time to do be involved in Bible studies. A good study will take about one hour to complete. This does not include preparation time and travel time. Sometimes the study may go longer than an hour, depending upon the questions asked and the discussion that comes up during the hour. Many times, the studies take place on a week night or on the weekend. This is when the individual has free time for the study. We may have to give up our favorite TV show or a ballgame to do the study. These studies often take several weeks of our time before the individual reaches a point of decision. Even after the person’s conversion, we need to spend several more weeks to help ground these individuals in the faith. Time is precious to all of us. What better way, however, to spend an hour than teaching another the good news of salvation that is found in Christ Jesus our Lord?
Yes, we are two weeks in to 2018. We only have fifty more weeks left. We do not need to let the time pass away without doing all we can to be involved in our theme for 2018. Let’s start today in our efforts to convert “Just One Soul.” Once you have converted one soul, you may develop the desire to convert just one or two more!