Pressing Onward!

by David Lemmons

I read a bulletin this past week which contained an article with the title listed above.  Actually, I receive quite a few bulletins in the mailbox and by Email, for which I am very grateful.  In this particular article one of my friends and fellow preachers in Georgia was exhorting his brethren to become more involved in evangelism.  Just like any good sermon, this article had three main points, each an area in which the need exists to “Press Onward!”  We will not try to consider the entire article, just the first point of it.

I want to share with you a portion of the article (substituting in our name at the appropriate place) and then proceed to encourage all of us to press onward in the same area of work.  Please notice the suggestion our brother makes and if you can see fit to follow it, I think it would be a great blessing to you, to the church here,  and also to many others.  Here is part of a paragraph from that writing…

The number of visitors is a reflection upon the efforts we put forth at talking up the local church, and hence Christ Himself.  We need to start seeing more visitors in our assemblies that are the direct result of invitations to friends, co-workers, and family to attend the services.  Though we do see some of this taking place, it is the exception and not the general rule.  I think we would all agree that much more can and must be done by all [Bellevue Road] members in the area of personal evangelism.  Why not make a commitment today to bring a visitor with you just one week each month?  That is a starting point.  Choose a specific week for this month, formulate a list of prospects, and start making contacts.  Start calling your list until you get a firm commitment from a prospect to visit with you.  You just might be surprised at the good your efforts will bring forth from that simple effort.

Now that sounds like a very good idea to me.  I think it is a challenge which would not be that difficult to accomplish, but which would definitely make a difference if we would all participate in it.

I suppose the opposite of the charge to PRESS ONWARD would be to SLIP BACKWARD.  If that to which we are pressing onward is our goal of going to heaven and taking as many with us as we possibly can, then there is no question which direction we ought to be interested in heading.

I think about Paul’s statement in Philippians 3:13-14… Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.  That same spirit or attitude of the great Apostle Paul is the spirit or attitude needed so desperately in the Lord’s church today!  Who can study the life of Paul and not be impressed by his persistent and consistent demonstration of evangelistic fervor?  When I think about the great work done by Paul in spreading the saving message, I surely get interested in what it might have been that motivated him to work in such a dedicated manner.

Two passages come to mind that tell me about what moved Paul to have such great concern for lost souls.  The first would be 2 Corinthians 5:10-11… For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are made manifest unto God; and I trust also are made manifest in your consciences.  Paul knew about and preached often about the Judgment Day.  He knew that God is a God of justice and that disobedience to Him could not go unpunished.  Paul’s faithful efforts were toward the end of persuading men to obey Christ.

The second passage that helps us to have a clue as to how Paul was so dedicated to the task of evangelism is, Romans 1:14-15… I am debtor both to the Greeks, and to the Barbarians; both to the wise, and to the unwise. So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also.  Please ponder the words: AS MUCH AS IN ME IS!  As much as was within Paul, whatever it was he had available, he was hoping to use that in preaching the gospel to the lost souls at Rome.  WHY?  Because he felt himself to be in debt to do that thing!  That sense of debt would not be a bad attribute for each Christian to carry, in my humble opinion!  We have good news that is needed by our friends, neighbors, and relatives.  How about it?  Will you accept the challenge my friend Barry set forth in the quotation above?