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“Fear not, thou worm Jacob, and ye men of Israel; I will help thee, saith the Lord and thy redeemer the Holy one of Israel.”
Get rid of fear, because fear is painful. How it torments the spirit! When the Christian trusts, he is happy; when he doubts, he is miserable. When the believer looks to His Master and relies upon Him, he can sing; when he doubts His Master, he can only groan.
What miserable wretches the most faithful Christians are when they once begin doubting and fearing! It is a trade I never like to meddle with, because it never pays the expenses, and never brings in any profit—the trade of doubting.
Why, the soul is broken in pieces, lanced, pricked with knives, dissolved, racked, pained. It knoweth not how to exist when it gives way to fear. Up, Christian! thou art of a sorrowful countenance; up, and chase thy fears.
Why wouldst thou be for ever groaning in thy dungeon? Why should the Giant Despair for ever beat thee with his crabtree cudgel? Up! Drive him away! Touch the key of the promises; be of good cheer! Fear never helped thee yet, and it never will.
Fear, too, is weakening. Make a man afraid—he will run at his own shadow; make a man brave, and he will stand before an army and overcome them. He will never do much good in the world who is afraid of men.
The fear of God bringeth blessings, but the fear of men bringeth a snare, and such a snare that many feet have been tripped by it. No man shall be faithful to God, if he is fearful of man.
No man shall find His arm sufficient for him, and His might equal to his emergencies unless he can confidently believe, and quietly wait. We must not fear; for fear is weakening.
Again; we must not fear; for fear dishonors God. Doubt the Eternal, distrust the Omnipotent? Oh, traitorous fear! Thinkest thou that the arm which piled the heavens, and sustains the pillars of the earth shall ever be palsied?
Shall the brow which eternal ages have rolled over without scathing it, at last be furrowed by old age? What! Shall the Eternal fail thee? Shall the faithful Promiser break His oath? Thou dishonorest God, O unbelief! Get thee hence!
God is too wise to err, too good to be unkind; leave off doubting Him, and begin to trust Him, for in so doing, thou wilt put a crown on His head, but in doubting Him thou dost trample His crown beneath thy feet.
—Charles Haddon Spurgeon. From a sermon titled, “Fear Not”
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“The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost”
(1 Timothy 1:15)
Paul had just described his ordination in 1 Timothy 1:12. He then went on to speak of the grace manifested in the call of such a person to the ministry (verse 13), and of the further grace by which he was sustained in that ministry.
Incidentally he was led to mention the message of his ministry. We may profitably use the text of this occasion. Paul’s words help us see how to preach the gospel, what is the gospel we preach, and why we preach this gospel.
How We Preach the Gospel
We preach the gospel with unapologetic certainty. Notice that Paul considers the gospel message to be a “trustworthy saying” (verse 15). In other words, there is no reason to doubt the truth of our message. We can be sure because it is a revelation of God, it is attested by miracles, it bears its witness within itself, and it has already proved its own power upon our hearts.
We also preach the gospel as an everyday truth. Paul calls it a “saying” or proverb. The gospel affects not just at the point of salvation but at home, in business, in sickness, in health, in life, in death. The gospel is for all of life—everyday.
We also preach the gospel as a common bearing. In other words, this “saying” is to be heard by all kinds of people. Every person is a sinner in need of God’s saving love.
We also preach the gospel in a way that claims our attention. Paul says it is “deserving of full acceptance” (verse 15). We must believe it to be true and worthy of acceptance!
What Gospel Do We Preach?
First, we preach the good news—gospel—of a person. This person is “Christ Jesus”, the anointed of God, the Savior of men, who once died but now lives forever.
We also preach the gospel of divine visitation and holy condescension. “Christ Jesus came into the world” by His birth as a man, his mingling with men, and his bearing our sorrows and sins for us.
We preach a gospel for sinners. Jesus “came into the world to save sinners.” For this salvation, Jesus labored, lived, and died. He died to make atonement for our sin; yet He is now risen on high and pleads for us in heaven (Romans 8:34).
We preach a gospel of a finished work. Jesus finished his saving work before He left the world, and that work is complete to this day. God is ready to apply this saving work through Jesus Christ to all who would come to Him in faith.
We preach a gospel of effectual deliverance. It was God’s desire “to save sinners.” Not to half save them, not to make them salvable, not to help them save themselves… but to save them wholly and effectually from their sins.
Why Do We Preach It?
Of course, we preach the gospel to others because we ourselves have been saved by it! Furthermore, I love Paul’s attitude toward his own sin; he says he is the “foremost” of sinners. If we consider ourselves the chief sinner among men, we would be all the more zealous to preach the good news that saved us to them. It should be something that you desire and cannot help. The saving work of Jesus creates an inward impulse that compels us to tell others of the miracle of mercy that God wrought upon us.
Praise be to God!
Charles Spurgeon and A Theology of the Holy Spirit In Preaching
Spurgeon’s understanding of the connection between the Holy Spirit, prayer and preaching is paradigm shifting. His understanding of the connection between preaching and the ministry of the Holy Spirit is not new, but it does need to be brought to the forefront for the modern reader. John Broadus in On the Preparation and Delivery of Sermons stated that “The ultimate requisite for the effective preacher is complete dependence upon the Holy Spirit.” Dr. Bryan Chapell teaches that the biblical description of the Spirit’s work challenges “All preachers to approach their task with a deep sense of dependence upon the Spirit of God.”
Dr. Sinclair Ferguson notes that “Little attention has been given in recent literature to the role of the Spirit in relationship to preaching.” Dr. Eswine explains that “Spurgeon’s intentional explicitness regarding the work of the Holy Spirit in preaching offers reasonable explorations into deeper caverns of intricacy, which may enable an infant theology on the Holy Spirit to take more steps.”
Charles Spurgeon believed that “the Spirit of God was precious to the people of God, and therefore sought to make the person and work of Christ the main focal point of his preaching and instruction to other preachers.” Dr. Heisler gets to the heart of what happens when the preacher understands the relationship between the Word and the Holy Spirit when he teaches that “When the Word and the Holy Spirit combine, combustion happens and power results.” He continues explaining that “Spirit-led preaching thrives on the powerful and inseparable tandem of the Word and Spirit.”
The biblical foundations for understanding the ministry of the Holy Spirit in preaching comes from John 14:16-17. Jesus, in this passage, identifies the Holy Spirit as the “Spirit of Truth.” The Spirit of Truth is sent by the Father at the request of the Son, and indwells believers as a resident minister who guides believers into all truth. Jesus elaborates on the Spirit as the guide into all truth when he said in John 16:13, “When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.”
Jesus identified the Spirit’s ministry as a continuation of His own ministry; in fact, John 14:16-18 makes it clear that the Holy Spirit is of the same kind (Deity) as Jesus. The Spirit reveals and glorifies Christ by magnifying Christ’s teaching, Christ’s gospel, and Christ’s work as the grand fulfillment of God’s redemptive plan. The Bible is united in its testimony to Jesus Christ, and the Spirit’s joy is giving witness to this testimony to the people of God. Spirit-led preaching comes into alignment with the Spirit’s ministry of glorifying Jesus Christ by proclaiming the written Word in order to glorify the living Word.
Dr. Greg Heisler notes that “Spirit-led preaching is the biblically defined ministry combined with the theological relationship between the Word and the Spirit. This combination demands Christ-centered preaching.” “The biblical and theological foundation, he explains, for the Word and Spirit in preaching is seen in the fact that the Scriptures are Christ-centered, the Spirit is Christ-centered, and the preacher is to be Christ-centered.”
The Scriptures are Christ-Centered: John 5:39, “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me.” Luke 24:27, “And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.” John 20:30-31, “Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.”
The Spirit is Christ-Centered: John 14:26, “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.” John 15:26, “”But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me.” John 16:13-14, “When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you.”
The preacher is to be Christ-Centered: 2 Corinthians 4:5, “For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servantsfor Jesus’ sake.” Acts 28:31, “Proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ with all boldness and without hindrance.” 1 Corinthians 1:23, “But we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles.” These three categories form according to Dr. Heisler “the foundation for Spirit-led preaching.”
Spurgeon understood the importance of preaching the Gospel in the power of the Holy Spirit which is why he notes that:
The gospel is preached in the ears of all; it only comes with power to some. The power that is in the gospel does not lie in the eloquence of the preacher; otherwise men would be converters of souls. Nor does it lie in the preacher’s learning; otherwise it would consist in the wisdom of men. We might preach till our tongues rotted, till we should exhaust our lungs and die, but never a soul would be converted unless there were a mysterious power going with it the Holy Ghost changing the will of man. Oh Sirs! We might as well preach to stone walls as preach to humanity unless the Holy Ghost be with the Word to give it power to convert the soul.
Dr. John Stott notes that “preachers must be humble in mind (submissive to the written Word of God), have a humble ambition (desiring an encounter to take place between Christ and His people), and a humble dependence (relying on the power of the Holy Spirit).” Preachers must aim to be faithful to God’s Word by lifting up the glory of Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit. The confidence the preacher has must come from heartfelt knowledge of the Word of God by dwelling richly upon the Word, which is truth. Only in this way will the preacher know the Truth they profess and be able to bear testimony about the Cross in demonstration of Word and Spirit.
Paul in 2nd Corinthians 4:12 gets to the heart of why preachers and teachers of the Word of God must be surrendered wholly to the Lord when he says, “So death is at work in us, but life in you.” The challenge of preaching is to grow in the task while giving it away, being willing to die for people so that they may live. Death-to-self is demanding, but necessary in order that the preacher may become like Christ, who died so that His people may live. Furthermore, if preachers will not die to self, the people they minister to will not live. The pulpit is a place to present a translucent soul laid over the vicarious suffering of the Lord Jesus, modeling His sacrifice.
Robert Murray M’Cheyne in a letter to his friend Andrew Bonar taught his friend to the following: “Remember you are God’s sword—His instrument—I trust a chosen vessel unto Him to bear His name. In great measure, according to the purity and reflections of the instrument will be the success. It is not great talents God blesses so much as great likeness to Jesus. A holy minister is an awful weapon in the hands of God.”
Spurgeon’s spirituality emerged from the Word of God. As Raymond Brown expressed it, “His spirituality was essentially a Biblical spirituality.” Spuregon was a man deeply influenced by the Puritans and as such believed that the Gospel was for all of life. Spurgeon “believed in a disciplined spirituality which to him meant diligent, meditative study of the Scriptures.”
Understanding the theology of the Holy Spirit in the life and thought of Spurgeon is important, but it is equally vital for preachers today to know how seriously Spurgeon took his own spiritual growth. Spurgeon’s ministry as this paper has sought to demonstrate was a ministry that was grounded in the Word of God and prayer, and fueled by the Holy Spirit. Spurgeon was a man of God, set ablaze with a passion to declare the majesty of God in the person and work of Jesus Christ.
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 John Broadus, On the Preparation and Delivery of Sermons, 4th Edition, revised by Vernon L. Stanfield (Harper San Francisco, 1979), 16.
 Bryan Chapell, Christ-Centered Preaching: Redeeming the Expository Sermon (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Books, 1994), 24.
Sinclair Ferguson, The Holy Spirit, Contours of Christian Theology (Downers Grove, Illinois: Intervarsity Press, 996), 277.
 Zachary W. Eswine, The Role of the Holy Spirit in the Preaching Theory and Practice of Charles Haddon Spurgeon PhD diss. Regent University, 2003, 228.
 Greg Heisler, Spirit-Led Preaching (Nashville, B & H Publishing, 2007), 54.
 Greg Heisler, Spirit-Led Preaching (Nashville, B & H Publishing, 2007), 63-64.
 Greg Heisler, Spirit-Led Preaching (Nashville, B & H Publishing, 2007), 65.
John Stott, Between Two Worlds (Grand Rapids, Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1982), 335.
 Steven W. Smith, Dying to Preach Embracing the Cross in the Pulpit, (Grand Rapids, Kregel, 2009), 18
 Robert Murray M’Cheyne, Memoir and Remains of the Rev. Robert Murray M’Cheyne Minister of St. Peter Dundee (Hamilton, Adams, & Co., J. Nisbett & Co., And J. Johnstone & Co., London, 1844). 243.
 Lecture given by Raymond Brown at the Celebration of Spurgeon’s 150th anniversary of his birth at William Jewell College, Liberty, Missouri.
 Lewis Drummond, Spuregon Prince of Preachers (Grand Rapids, Kregel, 1992), 573.
Spurgeon and the Word of God
Spurgeon sought to preach the Word of God faithfully to his people, week in and week out. Spurgeon– on verbal plenary inspiration– stated that it is a fact and not a hypothesis. He believed that the Bible was inerrant, authorative, and sufficient, and stated concerning the Word of God, “I am the Book of God: Read me. I am God’s writing: Open my pages, for I was penned by God; read it, for He is my Author.”
Spurgeon preaching on Matthew 4:4 taught that in one’s search for truth, “It is not found in an infallible Church or infallible Apostles or any infallible man, for this is not where infallibility rests, but rather Christians have a more sure word of testimony, a rock of truth upon which they rest, for our infallible standard lies in ‘It is written’.”
Spurgeon believed that the Bible does not merely contain the Word of God, but that it is the Word of God. Spurgeon reinforced his view that the Scriptures were the unique, infallible, and inerrant Word of God by stating: “It [The Bible] is also a book pure in the sense of truth, being without admixture of error. I do not hesitate to say that I believe that there is no mistake whatever in the original Holy Scriptures from beginning to end there is not an error of any sort in the whole compass of them.”
To Spurgeon, a preacher’s chief aim must be to communicate the Word of God to the people of God. He said, “The Word of God is not committed to God’s ministers to amuse men with its glitter, nor to charm them with the jewels in its hilt, but to conquer their souls for Jesus.” He believed the Bible was the very Word of God to break the heart and bring the soul before the throne of God, thus bringing them to a redemptive knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Word of God was the foundation for Spurgeon’s entire theological perspective and ministry.
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 Charles H. Spurgeon, The Greatest Fight in the Word. Conference Address (London: Passmore and Alabaster, 1895), p. 27.
 Charles Spurgeon, The New Park Street Pulpit, Vol. 1 (1855), p. 110.
 Charles Spurgeon,, The Treasury of the New Testament, Vol. I, p.28
 The Newcastle Daily Chronicle, June 24, 1891.
 Spurgeon believed that inerrancy applied only to the original autographs (manuscripts).
 Charles Spurgeon, The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, Vol. 35, 1889, p. 257.
 Charles Spurgeon, The Treasury of the New Testament, Vol. III, p.863.
 Lewis Drummond, Spuregon Prince of Preachers (Grand Rapids, Kregel, 1992), 624.
The earliest recorded instance about Charles Spurgeon’s conversion is found in his diary that detailed the period from April 6, 1850 to June 20, 1850. In that diary he wrote, “Saved men and women date from the drawn of their true lives; to from their first birthday but from the day wherein they were born again.” Spurgeon in a sermon at New Park Baptist Church on Sunday morning, the sixth of January 1856 stated that six years earlier, “As early as possibly at this very hour of that day,” he had come to Christ.
Spurgeon was saved during December 1849 at a Primitive Methodist Church in Colchester, England. The preacher gave a very simple message from Isaiah, “Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth.” After explaining the text and what it meant for ten minutes, the preacher turned to young Charles Spurgeon and began preaching at him telling him that he needed to “Look to Jesus Christ and live.” Spurgeon after hearing the good news responded as the Holy Spirit opened his eyes to new life.
Spurgeon’s Call to Ministry
Shortly after his conversion, Spurgeon was asked to become a Sunday school teacher, which he did and became so successful that he was asked to address the whole school. In ministering at the Sunday school, Spurgeon began to have a burden for a life of ministry. He prayed, “Make me Thy faithful servant, O my God; may I honour Thee in my day and generation, and be consecrated for ever to Thy service.” In one of his letters to his parents he tells them that he wishes to be like his father– a successful preacher of the gospel. Arnold Dallimore notes that what Spurgeon was experiencing was an unmistakable call to the ministry with his mighty gifts and his heart moved with a love for God and a love for the souls of mankind, it was inevitable that he should be a preacher.
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 Lewis Drummond, Spuregon Prince of Preachers (Grand Rapids, Kregel, 1992), 116.
 C.H. Spurgeon, The Saint and His Saviour (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1880), 176-179.
 C.H. Spurgeon’s Autobiography: Compiled from His Diary, Letters, and Records, by His Wife and His Private Secretary, Susannah, 129.
 Ian Murray, ed., The Early Years (London: Banner of Truth, 1962), 87-90.
 Ian Murray, ed., The Early Years (London: Banner of Truth, 1962), 87-90.
 Lewis Drummond, Spuregon Prince of Preachers (Grand Rapids, Kregel, 1992), 27.
 Arnold Dallimore, A New Biography (Pennsylvania, Banner of Trust, 2005), 28.