By Elizabeth Prata
Pastor James Bell is a pastor at Southside Baptist Church in Gallatin TN. He is one of the faithful pastors who labor diligently, outside of social media fame or Big Eva celebrity. He simply for 47 years has pastored in the same church, delivering the Good News week in and week out. He publishes a Grow in Grace newsletter, which I enjoy. It is always full of scripture and wisdom. Pastor Bell urges the recipients of the newsletter to use as we feel motivated, to share if we feel led or as a resource. I do share it now. Part 1 here.
Please use the Grow in Grace Newsletter for your own spiritual growth; and as a resource to help equip you to minister to others! Volume 47, No. 41, October 18, 2022 / Southside Baptist Church / P.O. Box 1594 / 1028 South Water Avenue, Gallatin, TN 37066 (615) 452-5951 / The Grow in Grace Newsletter is a weekly Bible Study, plus local church news notes— designed first and foremost for members and those attending services at Southside Church; and is sent forth with the desire to aid one and all, (including friends far and wide), in the experience of 2 Peter 3:18. “But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our LORD JESUS CHRIST!”
QUESTION: In light of this reality, why is the Church-wide Prayer meeting so neglected by us today?
NEEDS in the congregation JESUS IS BUILDING:
There is a need to genuinely praise God corporately— So that when we are singing hymns or choruses or praying; or reading Scripture; or preaching; and/or giving testimony, we are truly before the Throne of God in worship in a spirit of unity and holiness! (Eph. 4:1-16)
There is always an urgent need for laborers— EXAMPLES: Laborers are needed for the sometimes thankless, monotonous tasks that make it possible for us to be a well-equipped, well-nourished, gospel army. There are many needs for laborers: – People to be responsible in the nurseries. – People to help get dinner ready at fellowship meals. – People to help cleanup. – People to open and close. – People to help with music and singing. – People to teach classes. – People to disciple others. – People to visit the sick, shut-ins, and widows. – People to write letters. – People to minister to folks at home…, etc. – People to ‘own’ specific missionaries we support— so that each month those missionaries will receive specific ministry from the assembly of saints at Southside. – PEOPLE TO evangelize.
REALITY: No assembly of believers can function with power if it doesn’t have an army of people COMMITTED to do the ‘every day and unseen’ jobs purely as acts of worship unto our LORD! (Worship is not just PRAISE, as in singing! Worship is SERVICE unto the Lord!) SO, WE HAVE THESE TWO BOTTOM LINE NEEDS: MORE PRAISE! MORE LABORERS! THUS,
 WE go to the Word of God and behold GOD and His gospel of mercy and grace. (Rom 12:1-2)  AND when we need laborers— we go to the LORD of the harvest! (Matt 9:36-38; Luke 10:17-20)
NOTICE: (1) Going to God IN ONE ACCORD IN PRAYER brings forth PRAISE! (Acts 4:23-33); (2) DEALING WITH SIN in the church brings forth new laborers! (Acts 5:1-14) JESUS knows what we need better than we do. – He cares more than we do! Jesus builds His church through the intercession of His saints! (Acts 4:23-33)
WITH GOD’S WAY of JESUS BUILDING HIS CHURCH— there are seasons of many (Acts 2) and there are seasons of few who remain, (John 6:63-66; Phil. 3:18-19) — BUT AT ALL TIMES, we must LOOK UNTO THE LORD!
MOREOVER, the true work of God can NEVER be judged by size, only by SORT! (1 Cor. 3:13)
“Lord, give us a spirit of true praise!”— BUT WHAT ARE WE ASKING? Well, we can picture SINGING hymns and Choruses with our whole hearts, even with uplifted hands and with wonderful God-honoring testimonies, etc. – and these things should happen!
But true praise is something much more than that— the true praise of God is to serve God well with body, soul, and spirit, 24/7: “Make a joyful noise unto the Lord all ye lands. Serve the Lord with gladness. Come before his presence with singing.” (Ps 100:1-2; Rom 12:1-2)
If our joyful noise to the Lord is real and our singing in His presence is truly music to His ear— then we’re going to be serving Him gladly as we serve Him well.
MOREOVER, WE WILL NOT ONLY SING WITH THE CONGREGATION; WE WILL SING AT MIDNIGHT IN THE PRISON! (Acts 16:22-40) AND, we will be manifesting holiness and the fruit of the Holy Spirit and not the works of the flesh! (Galatians 5:19-23; Isaiah 1:11-20)
GOD REQUIRES HOLINESS, LOVE, and FORGIENESS! GOD REQUIRES THAT WE REPENT OF all works of the flesh! Moreover, God’s way to JOY and gladness, (which is foundational to worship), is serving others after the pattern of Jesus! (John 13:13-17; 13:34-35)
GENUINE PRAISE is the offering up of our body as a living sacrifice, committing it gladly in the service of God without grumbling; and praise from hearts repenting and being purified from sin! (Ps. 51)
“I appeal to you therefore brethren by the mercies of God to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God which is your spiritual worship.”(Rom. 12:1-2)
How did Jesus live so as to receive His Father’s pleasure? By emptying Himself of His glory, taking the form of a servant, and serving obediently even unto death.
How did Paul live manifesting spiritual worship to God? It was through endurance in afflictions, hardships, beatings, imprisonments, labors, fasting … REJOICING in the LORD always… seeing every situation as one to further the gospel! (Phil. 1-4)
So if we’re asking the Lord to shower us with a spirit of true praise, we’re really asking Him to help us yield ourselves to a spirit of glad service in the everyday and in the thankless places and the cruddy jobs. We are really asking Him for BOLDNESS to take the gospel to the lost in our world. Moreover, we are willing to be done with the filth of this world, to be done with bitterness, anger, lust, etc. LET US: … Serve the Lord with gladness… and come before his presence with singing… with cleansed hearts. (Isa. 1:10-20)
We also need to get clear in our minds what we’re asking for when we’re asking for more laborers. “Lord, give us more laborers!” …
We might picture MORE people gathered for OUTREACH ministry … more help in the nurseries … help with various Classes … faithful ministry to the widows… parents nurturing their children in the ways of the LORD… men and women reaching out boldly proclaiming the gospel … somebody going out to a foreign land to help those missionaries … All this and more may well happen.
HOWEVER: (1) But every laborer who is truly serving the Lord with gladness is first of all a person whose heart is on fire with praise and thanksgiving toward God!
(2) GETTING RID of all manner of sin that has been allowed to dirty a believer’s heart is a foundational key to PRAISE-JOY-FILLED LABORS for the souls of others! (Psalm 51:12-15; 40:1-3) When King David repented of his sin, then he began to SING again and then he went AGAIN into the harvest! (Psalm 51)
(3) TODAY, the Holy Spirit is already PRESENT and indwelling; but even so we must follow the same pattern: Acts 4:23-33; Acts 5:1-14!! All too often the Holy Spirit is grieved and quenched. Nothing so quenches the Holy Spirit as lovelessness and ungodliness.
Who are these laborers who get the work done?
People who live a life of repentance and faith… People who have first learned to enter into God’s gates with thanksgiving and into His courts with praise … People who have learned truly to be thankful unto Him and bless His name. They work diligently with songs of praise in their hearts … they continually renew their strength… for they that wait on the Lord shall renew their strength… (Isaiah 40:31)
JESUS: “… I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it.” (Matthew 16:18) Jesus is building His church all over the earth, including the place where you and I are.
As we lay these two needs [More Praise and More laborers!] before Him we can be sure that our very desire to pray for these things is coming from Him. And we can be sure that He waiting to give us these two miracles in the coming days in greater measure than we could ask or think! But we have not because we ask not!
SHALL WE BECOME A HOUSE OF PRAYER? Or shall we to go to the world for methods and techniques, drawing people to religious clubs rather than being those through whom JESUS CHRIST BUILDS HIS CHURCH?
(1) A spirit of true praise to serve the Lord with gladness – May we yield to it! (2) An army of laborers who will joyfully live and die praising Him – May we be found among them! [Additions and Edited from R.E. Bieber]
The End Time Blog Podcast Season 2, Episode 269