May 12, 2013
Sweet Memories of Yesteryear
I thank the great God and Father for the sweet memories of yesteryear that are etched in my heart. Many things that I saw and heard as a young Christian have made a lasting and memorable impression that will follow me till my earthly journey comes to an end. Please bear with me as I mention some of the more important things that will encourage all of us.
Sixth, I remember the time when members of local congregations openly rejoiced when a person was immersed into Christ. Their emotions were publicly intense. Sometimes the people, including the evangelist, would audibly weep. Why? They understood how sin destroys the soul and any hope of an eternal home in heaven! Therefore, to see a sinner yield to God’s will and experience freedom in Christ touched their souls. They understood that even heaven rejoices when a sinner repents! Jesus said,
“In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” (Luke 15:10)
Luke tells us that when the Ethiopian eunuch was immersed, “he went on his way rejoicing.” (Acts 8:39) There is good reason for exuberance when a person is rescued from the dominion of darkness! (Colossians 1:13) The fact that I have seen such joy is a sweet memory of yesteryear that I pray I will not forget.
Seventh, I recall the time when God’s people believed singing was an act of worship, and they sang in a way that “knocked the roof off the building.” They understood how important singing is to an assembly gathered for worship. They knew scripture not only tells us to sing, but it tells us to “sing and make melody with/from the heart.”(Ephesians 5:19) They sang with gratitude in their hearts. (Colossians 3:16) During that time God’s people also knew we are to continually offer to God the fruit of lips that openly profess his name! (Hebrews 13:15) Singing soothes the soul. It enlivens the heart! It helps a broken spirit heal! How can a person who has been forgiven of horrible sins such as adultery, drunkenness, homosexuality, theft, vile language, and gossip not sing to God with the very fiber of his being? I have often said,
“A congregation of Christ is not a funeral home, therefore, we should sing upward and outward with great enthusiasm.”
I remember hearing singing that was so emotional and strong that the tears flowed. Not for show, but for the joy of salvation in Christ.
Eighth, I remember a time when strong members of local congregation really cared for erring brothers and sisters. They knew the eternal value of restoring a brother or sister who was caught in sin. (Galatians 6: 1) They were willing to help carry each other’s burdens. They did not laugh at a weak brother or sister. They realized that they could be the one who needs help along life’s way. They did not excuse sin, but they reached out with a helping hand, tempered with love and mercy! When they confronted the sinner, the sinner knew it was done with concern, not from egotistical pride. It was clearly understood that
“whoever turns a sinner from the error of their way will save them from death and cover a multitude of sins.”(James 5:19-20)
Everything was done to bring the erring back to the right way. They were not always successful, but they made every reasonable effort because they loved the sinner.