Thursday, January 10, 2013

The Power and Simplicity of the Gospel

"Are you afraid that preaching the gospel will not win souls? Are you despondent as to success in God’s way? Is this why you pine for clever oratory? Is this why you must have music, and architecture, and flowers and millinery? After all, is it by might and power, and not by the Spirit of God? It is even so in the opinion of many.

Brethren beloved, there are many things which I might allow to other worshippers which I have denied myself in conducting the worship of this congregation. I have long worked out before your very eyes the experiment of the unaided attractiveness of the gospel of Jesus. Our service is severely plain. No man ever comes hither to gratify his eye with art, or his ear with music. I have set before you, these many years, nothing but Christ crucified, and the simplicity of the gospel; yet where will you find such a crowd as this gathered together this morning? Where will you find such a multitude as this meeting Sabbath after Sabbath, for five-and-thirty years? I have shown you nothing but the cross, the cross without flowers of oratory, the cross without diamonds of ecclesiastical rank, the cross without the buttress of boastful science. It is abundantly sufficient to attract men first to itself, and afterwards to eternal life!
In this house we have proved successfully, these many years, this great truth, that the gospel plainly preached will gain an audience, convert sinners, and build up and sustain a church. We beseech the people of God to mark that there is no need to try doubtful expedients and questionable methods. God will save by the gospel still: only let it be the gospel in its purity. This grand old sword will cleave a man’s chine, and split a rock in halves.
How is it that it does so little of its old conquering work? I will tell you. Do you see the scabbard of artistic work, so wonderfully elaborated? Full many keep the sword in this scabbard, and therefore its edge never gets to its work. Pull off that scabbard. Fling that fine sheath to Hades, and then see how, in the Lord’s hands, that glorious two-handed sword will mow down fields of men as mowers level the grass with their scythes.
There is no need to go down to Egypt for help. To invite the devil to help Christ is shameful. Please God, we shall see prosperity yet, when the church of God is resolved never to seek it except in God’s own way."
-C.H. Spurgeon, Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, 1888

"Remember those...who have spoken the word of God to you, whose faith follow, considering the outcome of their conduct. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever." 
Hebrews 13:7-8

Friday, January 4, 2013

May Children Find Joy This Year

When it comes to ministering to children, my heart could not be more aligned than it is with George Muller:

"It appears to me that believers generally have expected far too little present fruit from their labors among children. They hope that the Lord will some day confirm their instruction and answer the prayers which they offer up on the children's behalf. The Bible assures us that in everything we do for the Lord, including bringing up children in the fear of the Lord, our labor is not in vain. We have to guard against thinking that it does not matter whether we see present fruit or not. On the contrary, we should give the Lord no rest until we see fruit. Therefore, in persevering yet submissive prayer, we should make our requests known to God. I am now looking for many more children to be converted."

To that end, this is my prayer for 2013. I've been trying to reach children in a difficult neighborhood the past year with very little success, and I am now convinced it was because I lacked in consistent, persevering, earnest prayer; all in guidance on how to reach them, for the Holy Spirit to go ahead of us and prepare their little hearts, and for His blessing upon our labors in reaching them. I am greatly encouraged to give the Lord no rest, through prayer, until we see fruit. May the children surrounding you, no matter what country you live in, find heavenly joy in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ this year. May they grow in their love and understanding of Him, and may they encourage us in their awe inspiring faith and simplicity. God's little missionaries are all around us just waiting for the opportunity to shine for Him :) 

Oh, may 2013 be a happy year in Him for children around the world!