Vol.IX No.I Pg.5
March 1972

Personal Work

Robert F. Turner

My brethren love sermons that tell others what they must do to be saved. WHAT — there is something; MUST — it is imperative; I — meaning they; DO — not faith only; TO BE SAVED — from past sins, and eternally. Well, I can not deny it — they must do some­thing. But for the doing to have validity (we do not believe in a system of works, or salvation by merit) this must be the obedience of faith (Rom. 16:26). It must spring from a heart wholly given to Christ (Matt. 16:24), and it takes more than telling them off to produce such obedience.

People must he made to feel something: the burden of sin, the need for forgiveness. They must he led to trust in the real Son of God who died for them; to desire the truth that can make them free. These feelings — such faith and desires — are rarely produced by cold mechanical pedantic exercises. We seek to change lives; and we must challenge and attract this materialistic generation with our own spiritual lives.

We might better our chances if we first ask ourselves: What WE (who claim to be Christians) MUST DO, in order to convert others to Christ.

do some­thing — and plunge into activities that get publicity (dunk the preacher), attract youth (hippie style devotionals), appeal to the sports-minded (inter-church leagues) or meet social needs (with pie-suppers and general welfare). They are doing something all right, and it gets results. It attracts attention, appeals to the sports-minded, encourages a subjective approach to the Holy Spirit, and fills some social needs — people to Christ.

Often the good works of which some brethren are so proud, are done by ignoring the divine pattern for organized efforts. How can such lack of respect glorify God? (Matt. 5:16)

By some sort of Sadie Thompson law we seem to attract that which we ex­emplify. Birds of feathers flock together. Paul said the word must be committed unto faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also. We ignore the scriptures (2 Tim. 2:2), the lessons of history, and the very nature of man when we expect to truly convert others with half-converted, fleshly-minded workers. (Gal. 5:17)

We ask our neighbor to put Gods word before his present religion, his preacher, business and family. Does he see that kind of dedication in us? Some brethren are so fearful the world will hear about church problems. (They will!!) But men of convictions are attracted, not re­pelled, by finding others who stand firmly for that which they believe the Bible teaches. We are fishing for men, not mice. Truth is not shameful.

Is your life attracting people who would not heed the word alone? Does your godly manner of life shame those who falsely accuse you? Are we really different from the world? (1 Pet. 3:l, 10; 4:1-5) Or must we acquiesce to the sordid philosophy of the cruelly frank personal worker (?) who complained, Why convert them? They will probably turn out just like me!!