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      Nurturing people in the image of God since 1868.                                                                          POB 397/520 Dry Creek Rd./Smithville, TN

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"How Do You Plead"

A man commented about a preacher he knew- "He speaks very well, if he just had something to say." The church of Christ has something to say that the world desperately needs to hear. We have in our hands the gospel of Christ which can save the soul from sin and reconcile lost men and women to God. The question is not does the church have something to say. The question is will we say it. The apostle Paul spoke words in Acts 20:26-27 that every gospel preacher, Christian, and elder need to consider: "Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all men. For I have not shunned (or avoided) to declare to you the whole counsel of God." Paul was confident that in the court of God no one at Ephesus would be able to accuse that he had withheld or been silent concerning any part of the plan, purpose, counsel, word, or will of God. No one could say to him, in the words of the sobering gospel song, "You never mentioned him to me, you helped me not the light to see. You met me day by day, and knew I was astray, Yet never mentioned him to me."

How about us? Are we innocent of the blood of all men? The question is not have we baptized everyone in our town or on our street or even everyone who attends our worship services. The question is are we declaring the whole counsel of God? The question is not are we making the gospel acceptable, but rather are we making it available? Steven Brown reminds us of our duty with the following words: "I feel that God has put me beside a cliff where people dance close to the edge. I say to them, 'Look, if I were you I wouldn't get so close. I have seen people go over, and they always get hurt. Some of them get killed.' And they say, 'I really appreciate you telling me that. I didn't realize it was so dangerous.' And then they jump! I feel so responsible for the pain. And the Father reminds me through His Word, 'Son, you are not responsible for the jumping: you are responsible for the telling.' "

Who is responsible to tell a lost world on its way to hell without Christ that there is a way out of sin? Jesus told the church to go and tell. The world, and not the church, is guilty if they don't listen to the gospel we preach. But we are guilty if we fail to share the gospel. Are you innocent of the blood of lost people you know, or are you shunning to declare the gospel? Guilty or innocent- how do you plead?

by Dan Gulley
Smithville Church of Christ