James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, penned the following words in James 1:22, “But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves“. Luke recorded Christ’s words in Luke 6:46-49, “And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say? Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them, I will shew you to whom he is like: He is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock. But he that heareth, and doeth not, is like a man that without a foundation built an house upon the earth; against which the stream did beat vehemently, and immediately it fell; and the ruin of that house was great.” Both of these passages lead to one conclusion; that being, true Christianity requires an experiential walk enveloped in the teachings of God’s Word.
Sadly, today we have many on our church rolls who are content with “just showing up” for an occasional service to only hear the Word, without ever hearing the Word. For if they had heard the Word of God, they would be drawn unto the Lord’s service; desiring to be a willing sanctified vessel meet for the Master’s use. As a result, they live lives that are often in disarray, lacking in faith, often living in fear, never developing a close relationship with the Lord.
When Jesus gave the Great Commission to His church, His first word was “GO“. This simple word, though strong and direct in its command, brings forth a responsibility to one who is willing to hear the Word. The responsibility demands that one prays, studies, and meditates upon God’s Word – and then tests God’s Word in one’s daily experiences. Faithfulness to the responsibility will lead one to love the Lord with all their heart, mind, and soul. This kind of love will then manifest itself in a desire to become the salt and the light for Christ to a lost and dying world. Furthermore, in 2 Corinthians 5:20-21 we read that we are to be “ambassadors for Christ”, and that our ministry is to spread the Gospel message of “reconciliation”. In other words, we are to be busy telling the world about Jesus Christ our redeemer and Saviour.
2 Corinthians 5:20-21,
“Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God. For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”
Unfortunately, many church members believe that only the pastor, the deacons, and the leaders of the church are to be the ambassadors. However, we must remember that Paul wrote 2 Corinthians to the “church at Corinth”, which was inclusive of all her members. Therefore, we must conclude that all our members are to be spreading the Gospel message of Jesus Christ as well. Souls will be saved, baptized, added to the local church, and will become teachable through the efforts of one who has chosen to be a doer of the Word and not a hearer only.
Consider the following story about one who wanted to become a church member. A man once called a preacher to say he wanted to become a member of the church he pastored. The man went on to explain that he did not want to worship every week, study the Bible, visit the sick or serve as a leader or teacher. The minister commended him for his desire to be a member, but told him the church he sought was located in another section of town. The man took the directions and hung up. When he arrived at that address, the man came face to face with the logical result of his own apathetic attitude. There stood an abandoned church building boarded up and ready for demolition. – Broad Street Banner
My prayer is that each member of our assembly will be engaged as a doer of the Word, and as well a committed ambassador for Christ – lest one be found guilty of being a hearer only (that is, a “bench warmer”).