March 1997 — With praise and thanksgiving to God, I report on a full and fruitful weekend of ministry in North Alabama during Saturday-Sunday just past. Saturday morning the preachers and elders of the three sponsoring congregations in the Florence/Tuscumbia area met at 7 a.m. at an area restaurant for breakfast, fellowship and a time of prayer. I was privileged to join that meeting. Then, for four hours on Saturday, we examined many Scriptures from both Old and New Testaments regarding five truths.
(1) God saved us once for all, in the perfect and finished atonement wrought by Jesus Christ. (2) God called us through the “good news of our salvation” — taking the initiative in our regeneration and conversion, exercising divine power in the preaching of the gospel, illuminating our minds, giving us faith and repentance, “drawing” us to himself. (3) This was all according to the divine purpose and grace granted us in Christ Jesus before the world began, not based on our works in any sense. (4) This eternal purpose and grace was manifested in the appearing of Jesus Christ in the flesh, although it was previously unknown by even the prophets and angels. Based on these truths, we go forward with confidence that God will guard us, preserve us, confirm us, complete the good work he has begun, and present us to himself at the Last Day. Following the teaching, we concluded with a 90-minute session of lively questions and answers.
Sunday morning I spoke to combined adult and teen Sunday School classes on Jesus’ perfect offering which has perfected believers forever, and the response which that elicits from us, from Hebrews 10. At the morning service, I preached on Jesus’ invitation to the weary and heavy-laden to come to him and find rest — from burdensome religion, from fear and anxiety about material needs, in times of crisis, and illness, and temptation and distress of all sorts.
I was greatly encouraged by the zeal of these brothers and sisters for in-depth Bible study, their receptiveness to the Word, their celebration of God’s grace by their praise and gratitude and joy, and their desire to share the good news of salvation with others from day to day. I would be pleased to arrange a similar “Saturday Seminar in the Scriptures” with believers elsewhere who might be interested in such an intensive and Christ-centered day of Bible study, without regard to denomination or affiliation.