Archive for the ‘soul-winning’ Category

1:7 Wise Fear

Sunday, June 13th, 2010

Charles Simeon trembled to take the Lord's Supper without repentance.

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction. Proverbs 1:7

Many of the people we admire as great historical Christians went through severe distress before their conversions, fearing God and his judgment. Perhaps best known of these was Martin Luther, whose agonies have been well documented. But David Brainerd, George Whitefield, John Wesley, Charles Simeon, John Bunyan, Charles Spurgeon and dozens of others might also be cited as examples. Perhaps God permitted them such anguish of soul that he might awaken in them a desire to rescue others from spiritual danger.

Charles Simeon’s dread fell upon him when he learned he was absolutely required to take communion at Cambridge. He knew that anyone who eats and drinks unworthily eats and drinks damnation to himself. Many of the godless students did so without regard to their spiritual danger. Simeon quaked at the thought. “Conscience told me that, if I must go, I must repent and turn to God.” That act of repentance was the beginning of a walk with the Lord that led him by degrees to become a zealous college chaplain who captured the souls of many of England’s upper class students.

Jesus exemplified the fear of the Lord more than any person who has ever lived. Absolutely determined to obey God with his whole heart, he refused to cut a single corner or escape a single detail God had planned for him. He accepted hunger, thirst, rejection, cold, and even a cruel death rather than defy God by so much as a thoughtless word.

Among his notable sayings was this, “Do not fear those who kill the body, and after that can do no more. But I will show you whom you should fear: fear Him who, after the killing of the body has power to throw you into Hell. Yes, I say, fear Him.”

28:23 Rebuke and Flattery

Sunday, January 31st, 2010

Peter Cartwright, fearless evangelist.

He who rebukes a man will find more favor afterward
Than he who flatters with the tongue.

Peter Cartwright, a frontier evangelist in 19th-century America, was noted for his boldness. He spoke fearlessly of the things of Christ to high and low. In one notable instance, he warned “Old Hickory,” General Andrew Jackson, future president of the United States, that unless he repented, he would be damned to hell just as surely as the lowliest slave who rejected Christ.

Another preacher apologized for Cartwright’s blunt words. Jackson retorted that Christ’s ministers ought to love everyone and fear no mortal man. He added that he wished he had thousands of officers with the courage of Cartwright.

Jesus, too, did not flatter with the tongue. When Peter tried to tell him he did not have to go to the cross, Jesus replied, “Get behind me, Satan! You do not have in mind the things of God.” That retort taught Peter—and us—a more memorable lesson than a thousand soft words would have done.

10:5 Summer Son

Sunday, January 24th, 2010

Inside McCormick's blacksmith shop in Virginia.

He who gathers in summer is a wise son: but he who sleeps in harvest is a son who causes shame.

There was a time in the United States (and much of the rest of the world) when every able-bodied person was needed to get in the harvest. It made no sense to increase acreage in wheat, because the window for reaping was so narrow and the number of hands required to get the crop in was so great. Had any able-bodied farm-boy slept over-late at harvest, he would have been the butt of scorn. As it was, despite the best efforts of farmers, hogs had to be turned into the fields to fatten when the grain became overripe.

Cyrus McCormick changed that by inventing the first machine with the seven essential parts of a true reaper. He was jeered at first and his efforts considered folly because his reaper did not work well on the uneven, hilly ground of his native Virginia. But he persisted, and the US became the breadbasket of the world.

Jesus placed this whole concept on a spiritual level. There are fields of souls waiting for harvest. He commanded his disciples to reap them now and set the example as God’s only begotten son. Will we not be rebuked in the judgment if we have idled our hours and allowed our neighbors to perish without the word of truth?