By Larry Ray Hafley
Much good preaching is done in an attempt to “restore the ancient order” of things divine. That is as it should be (2 Cor. 10:3-5). More teaching needs to be and will be presented in that noble effort. It is a constant, crying demand for those who love the Lord and His word (2 Tim. 4:2-8).
Perhaps all Christians can see neglected areas. Each has his own idea of a particular area of the faith that is not given the attention it deserves. Here is one aspect of truth that requires more emphasis:
“Ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine” (Acts 5:28). “And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ” (Acts 5:42). “Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word” (Acts 8:4). “I . . . have showed you, and taught you publicly, and from house to house” (Acts 20:20).
If daily teaching and preaching of the word “publicly, and from house to house” is not done, there will be no problems like unqualified elders, church discipline, or the music question, for there will be no churches, no elders and no worship. It is a sorry way cure a patient by letting him e. That is what is happening many places. Churches are curing their problems by dying of salvation starvation. The church dissipates, dissolves, and disappears. “Doc, I’ve got a horse with a horse with a broken leg. Oh, I can fix that. Shoot the horse.”
We speak and sing about our desire to be like Jesus. “Consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession” concerning personal work. Jesus did much public preaching and teaching, but He also taught individuals. Nicodemus (Jn. 3), the Samaritan woman at the well (Jn. 4), and Zacchaeus (Lk. 19), are classic examples. If we would truly be like Jesus, we cannot ignore His pattern in this area. Our Lord was not always successful (Mk. 10:22). Even His own brothers did not accept Him for a time. However, He made use of occasions to talk privately to the lost about their souls. Unless we develop a sincere desire to see others saved and actively work with them on a personal level, we will not “be like Jesus.” No person was too lowly, no situation was too insignificant for our Lord to talk to someone about his soul. Dare we manifest less love than our blessed Savior?
Some Things Alone Will Not Work
Two gospel meetings a year with a “schedule of regular services” will not do that job. The meetings are often poorly planned, announced, advertised and attended. But that is food for another article. The problem is that the saints are not reaching and teaching others “daily and from house to house.” We may soothe our consciences with faithful attendance and with ready answers for denominational errors, but unless we are preaching the word in homes, cars, offices, schools, factories, wherever there is opportunity, we will die a slow death and lose our souls. There must be a sense of urgency about teaching the lost. A fifteen minute radio program alone will not do the job. The real problem is our own refusal to personally and directly confront our friends, neighbors and relatives with the gospel.
The world does not care about our meeting houses. They are not impressed with the fact that some man named Hafley will speak there with “no nightly collections.” The world is not beating down the doors to at tend our “series of gospel meetings. ” Please do not write and complain about my alleged attack against gospel of meetings. I am not assaulting them. I am saying that we must do more on a personal, individual level. Would you deny it? Meetings, radio programs and newspaper articles alone will not suffice. They are good and useful tools, but they must not supplant or displace “one on one” contact.
Churches rightly and properly conduct personal work programs and classes. But if the participants see Tuesday as “Personal Work” night (with a capital “P” and a capital “W”) and fail to teach those they meet, live and work with, it is incomplete at best, or a failure at worst. There is absolutely no substitute for personal evangelism or personal work (with a small “p” and a small “w”). I can neither avoid nor escape it. Can you? The duty, the responsibility to teach others will not go away. Every face you see, every person with whom you have a relationship, is a prospect, and an opportunity. Let that ring in your ears and haunt your mind as you live from day to day.
Guardian of Truth XXX: 5, p. 139
March 6, 1986