Charles H. Spurgeon delivered a timely and honest message to preachers on May 15, 1890. Spurgeon’s text was Ezekiel 37:9 and his concern was the preacher’s dependence upon the power and blessing of God. The passage seems particularly appropriate for our own day:
“Look you, sir, you may study your sermon; you may examine the original of your text; you may critically follow it out in all its bearings; you may go and preach it with great correctness of expression; but you cannot quicken a soul by that sermon. You may go up into your pulpit; you may illustrate, explain, and enforce the truth; with mighty rhetoric you may charm your hearers; you may hold them spellbound; but no eloquence of yours can raise the dead. . . . You may organize your societies, you may have excellent methods, you may diligently pursue this course and that; but when you have done all, nothing comes of it if the effort stands by itself. Only as the Spirit of God shall bless men by you, shall they receive a blessing through you. Whatever your ability or experience, it is the Spirit of God, who must bless your labour. Therefore, never go to this service with a boast upon your lip of what you can do, or with the slightest trace of self-confidence; else will you go in a spirit which will prevent the Holy Ghost from working with or through you.
O brethren, think nothing of us who preach to you! If ever you do, our power will be gone. If you begin to suppose that such and such a minister having been blessed of God to so many thousands will necessarily be the means of the conversion of your friend, you are imputing to a son of man what belongs only to the Son of God; and you will assuredly do that pastor or that minister a serious mischief by tolerating in your heart so idolatrous a thought. We are nothing; you are nothing. ‘Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts,’ is a message that should make us lie in the dust and utterly despair of doing anything in and of ourselves, seeing that all the power is of God alone. It will do us good to be very empty, to be very weak, to be very distrustful of self, and so to go about our Master’s work.”
See “Come From the Four Winds, O Breath!” by Charles H. Spurgeon, preached at Metropolitan Tabernacle, London, May 15, 1890.
For an excellent Web resource featuring the work of Charles H. Spurgeon, visit www.spurgeon.org, established and maintained by Phillip R. Johnson.
R. Albert Mohler Jr.
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