Monday, June 06, 2005

Not By Might

Often when I pray before preaching on Sunday mornings, I ask God to work "through me if You can and around me if You must." I do this because of a settled conviction that I cannot effect heart-change--only God the Spirit can. That doesn't mean that I am not responsible and accountable. It just means that I am not powerful!

Here's a quote from Charles Spurgeon that makes that point in typical Spurgeonesque language:

"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.

[From "Come From the Four Winds, O Breath!" by Charles H. Spurgeon, preached at Metropolitan Tabernacle, London, May 15, 1890, HT: Albert Mohler]

1 comments:

Excellent quote; gonna cut and paste and KEEP that one!