Delivering God’s message deserves all of my ability. When I deliver it, my mind and heart should be all there. I think there are some men who get into the pulpit, who are not really there. C. H. Spurgeon writes:
Beloved, have a genuine faith in the Word of God, and in its power to save. Do not go up into the pulpit preaching the truth, and saying, “I hope some good will come of it “; but confidently believe that it will not return void, but must work the eternal purpose of God. Do not speak as if the gospel might have some power, or might have none. God sends you to be a miracle-worker; therefore say to the spiritually lame, “in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk,” and men will rise up and walk; but if you say, “I hope, dear man, that Jesus Christ may be able to make you rise up and walk,” your Lord will frown upon your dishonoring words. You have lowered him—you have brought him down to the level of your unbelief, and he cannot do many mighty works by you. Speak boldly; for if you speak by the Holy Spirit you cannot speak in vain.
Oh, that we could make our people feel that we believe what we are saying! I have heard of a little girl, who said to her father, who was a minister, and who had been telling her a story, “Pa, is that real, or is it preaching?” I cannot object to your smiling at my anecdote; but it is a thing to weep over, that preaching should be suspected of unreality. People hear our testimony, and ask, “Is it a matter of fact, or is it the proper thing to be said?” If they saw a statement in a newspaper, they would believe it; but when they see it in a sermon, they say, “It is a pious opinion.”
This suspicion is born of want of fidelity in ministers. I saw, just now, outside the shop of a marine-store dealer, a placard which runs thus: “Fifty tons of bones wanted.” “Yes,” I said to myself, “mostly back-bones.” Fifty tons of them! I could indicate a place where they could take fifty tons, and not be overstocked. As for us, let us be able to say, “I believed, therefore have I spoken.” Let us have a genuine faith in everything that God has revealed. Have faith, not only in its truth, but in its power; faith in the absolute certainty that, if it be preached, it will produce its results. (“The Preacher’s Power, and the Conditions of Obtaining it”)
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