I’m continuing to look at what it means to be a member in the church. We were pleased to receive into membership at our recent communions Debbie Hargreaves, Robin Gray and Neil Holmes all by profession of faith. As we pray that the Lord will richly bless each one as they grow up into Christ, I also hope that these short pieces will provide a helpful means for that growth.
The focus for being a member this month is on Preaching which involves both privilege and responsibility.
The preaching of God’s Word is the main part of our worship service on the Lord’s Day. This is a great privilege for me to do. Much reading, study, prayer and reflection goes into each sermon that is preached because the Bible places an emphasis not only on reading our Bibles alone (Acts 8. 28), but on gathering together to hear it preached, taught and explained (Acts 20:7-12; 1 Tim 4:13).
God speaks to us and builds us up as his people through the regular teaching of God’s Word on the Lord’s Day. Whilst it is equally important that you ensure you have access to other formal and informal teaching in the form of Bible studies, the mid-week meeting, discipleship groups (Multiply Groups e.g.), prayer groups or private discussions with other mature Christians in the congregation, the preaching of the Bible on the Lord’s Day is a main element in our spiritual diet.
In order to encourage you to invite unbelievers to our church services I do try to be apologetic (addressing current questions that people might have about the Christian faith and Christ) and evangelistic when preaching. It is important that the preaching and teaching is clear and understandable in order that the Devil will not snatch it away from the heart before it can take effect (Matthew 13. 4, 19). If you do not understand anything that is preached please do not hesitate to ask me or one of the office bearers for clarification. Absolutely no offence is taken!
I think it is crucially important that we make attending church to hear God’s word a priority for Sunday. The public gathering on the Lord’s Day is God’s idea. It is he who appointed this for us (Acts 2:42; Hebrews 10:25) and we must ensure that we make every effort to be there worshipping with his people. We meet twice on a Sunday in the Free North, both morning and evening, though attendances at the morning service are much better. If there are aspects of the evening service/ worship that you feel would make attending easier please do let me know.
Attending church in a prayerful attitude, asking God to make us, as well as others, attentive to the Word in such a way that we receive it with faith and love, laying it up in our hearts and practicing it in our life, is very important as well. When we do so, we’re more likely to benefit from the preaching and being in church itself. I know how difficult it is to get organised and be in the right frame of mind especially when you have little ones to get ready also, but the Lord honours those that honour Him.
It gives me great joy to see many people in church. Let’s pray that the Lord will show us how blessed we are to have the freedom to meet as we do and let’s embrace this privilege wholeheartedly
Next month we’ll look at giving.
Your friend and pastor
Rev Colin MacLeod