Monday, May 19, 2008

A challenge from Spurgeon


One of our readers came upon this portion of C. H. Spurgeon's sermon from Song of Solomon 6:4 (#984), The Church As She Should Be. His words are a challenge to churches which are, for all practical purposes, neglecting their God-given mission.


It is to be feared that some churches have hung up their flags to rot in state, or have encased them in dull propriety.

They do not desire to do great things, or to see great things. They do not expect many conversions; if many did happen, they would be alarmed and suspicious. They do not expect their pastor’s ministry to be with power; and if it were attended with manifest effect they would be greatly disturbed, and perhaps would complain that he created too much excitement.

The worst of it is, that do-nothing churches are usually very jealous lest any should encroach on their domain. Our churches sometime ago appeared to imagine that a whole district of this teeming city belonged to them to cultivate or neglect, as their monopolising decree might be. If anybody attempted to raise a new interest, or even to build a preaching station, within half a mile of them, they resented it as a most pernicious poachings upon their manor. They did nothing themselves, and were very much afraid lest anybody should supplant them. Like the lawyers of old, who took away the key of knowledge, they entered not in themselves, and them that were entering in they hindered.

That day, it is to be hoped, has gone once for all; yet too much of the old spirit lingers in certain quarters. It is high time that each church should feel that if it does not work, the sole reason for its existence is gone. The reason for a church being a church lies its mutual edification and in the conversion of sinners; and if these two ends are not really answered by a church, it is a mere name, a hindrance, an evil, a nuisance; like the salt which has lost its savor, it is neither fit for the land nor yet for the dunghill.

May we all in our church fellowship be active in the energy of the Spirit of God. May none of us be dead members of the living body, mere impediments to the royal host, baggage to be dragged rather than warriors pushing on the war. May we, every one of us, be soldiers filled with vigor to the fullness of our manhood, by the eternal power of the Holy Spirit; and may we be resolved that any portion of the church which does not uplift its banner of service shall not long number us among its adherents. Be it ours to determine that whether others will or will not serve God and extend the kingdom of his dear Son, we will, in his name and strength, contend even to the death.

Unsheath our swords, ye soldiers of the cross; arise from your slumbers, ye careless ones, gird on your swords and prepare for the war. The Lord has redeemed you by his blood, not that you might sleep, but that you might fight for the glory of his name.


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