Sermons can be great things. We can also make them hindrances and stumbling blocks. What do I mean you ask? If we simply listen, discuss and go about our merry way, we have done a diservice to scripture and we sin. We must apply the Word of God to our lives. If in fact we are believers, we should examine our lives in light of the message given, based on the exposition of scripture, and repent when neccessary; be encouraged when we hear of our Savior's sacrifice and our God's love; feel the weightiness of the Lord's spoken word to us and rejoice when the cause arises. In other words, we should leave from the sermon changed. It should not just be another theological discussion. It should not be just another Sunday morning. We should look for ways to apply what was said to our lives so that we grow in our sanctification (becoming like Christ) and the body (of believers) is likewise strengthened. Of course it helps when that application is drawn directly from the text preached.
We must be growing in sanctification. We must be willing to humble ourselves before our great and just God. We must be willing to circumvent our wants and desires and exchange them for His wants and desires. We must submit to the glory of God.
With that being said, this past Sunday one of our elders preached a sermon on the latter half of Romans chapter 15. It was preached expositionally and application was given at the end and included the Lord's supper (as it is every Sunday). I have thought and prayed about this since then and have come to the conclusion that I need to make a change in my life. I need to pray for those I don't even know. I need to pray for those whose only bond to me is that we are both under the headship of Christ (and that is enough to pray for them). I have neglected those who are out spreading the gospel in foreign lands and here at home. Instead I have focused on my local church, my family and friends (which are not bad things) and sat aside those who risk their lives daily to share the gospel because they wish to be obedient to the scriptures- to God.
Therefore, I am going to start praying and interacting with those who are brothers and sisters in Christ on a weekly basis so long as the Lord leads me to do so. I think I will not reinvent the wheel but utilize what is already out there such as Prisoner Alert.
Sometimes it is easy to get caught up in our local endeavors and there is certainly nothing amiss about doing such. But, if we neglect our brothers and sisters who need our prayers and support, when we have the ability to both pray and support, I think it is to the detriment of the Kingdom.
May the Lord keep me faithful to pray and minister to those who are taking the Gospel to the utter most parts of the earth and in so doing, may I not neglect those who are right here amongst me. Lord swell up within me a passion for your Church world wide while grounding me in faithful service to your local Church so my account before you may be one that is pleasing to your ears. May I not pursue one to the detriment of the other; keep me balanced in this endeavor you have graciously laid on my heart. Be glorified.