Conversion as Our Aim–Charles Spurgeon (excerpt from sermon)

Posted: August 20, 2009 in Church History, doctrine, General Discussion, Mentors, sermons, Theology
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Our great object of glorifying God is, however, to be mainly achieved by the winning of souls. We must see souls born unto God. If we do not, our cry should be that of Rachel “Give me children, or I die.” If we do not win souls, we should mourn as the husbandman who sees no harvest, as the fisherman who returns to his cottage with an empty net, or as the huntsman who has in vain roamed over hill and dale. Ours should be Isaiah’s language uttered with many a sign and groan—“Who hath believed our report? And to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed?” The ambassadors of peace should not cease to weep bitterly until sinners weep for their sins. If we intensely desire to see our hearers believe on the Lord Jesus, how shall we act in order to be used of God for producing such a result? This is the theme of the present lecture. Since conversion is a divine work, we must take care that we depend entirely upon the Spirit of God, and look to him for power over men’s minds. Often as this remark is repeated, I fear we too little feel its force; for if we were more truly sensible of our need of the Spirit of God, should we not study more in dependence upon his teaching? Should we not pray more importunately to be anointed with his sacred unction? Should we not in preaching give more scope for his operation? Do we not fail in many of our efforts, because we practically, though no doctrinally, ignore the Holy Ghost? His place as God is on the throne, and in all our enterprises he must be first, midst, and end: we are instruments in his hand, and nothing more. This being fully admitted, what else should be done if we hope to see conversions? Assuredly we should be careful to preach most prominently those truths which are likely to lead to this end. What truths are those? I answer, we should first and foremost preach Christ, and him crucified. Where Jesus is exalted souls are attracted; – “I, if I be lifted up, will draw all men unto me.” The preaching of the cross is to them that are saved the wisdom of God and the power of God. The Christian minister should preach all the truths which cluster around the person and work of the Lord Jesus, and hence he must declare very earnestly and pointedly the evil of sin, which created the need of a Saviour. Let him show that sin is a breach of the law, that it necessitates punishment, and that the wrath of God is revealed against it. Let him never treat sin as though it were a trifle, or a misfortune, but let him set it forth as exceeding sinful. Let him got into particulars, no superficially glancing at evil in the gross, but mentioning various sins in detail, especially those most current at the time: such as that all-devouring hydra of drunkenness, which devastates our land; lying, which in the form of slander abounds on all sides; and licentiousness, which must be mentioned with holy delicacy, and yet needs to be denounced unsparingly. We must especially reprove those evils into which our hearers have fallen, or are likely to fall. Explain the ten commandments and obey the divine injunction: “show my people their transgressions, and the house of Jacob their sins.” Open up the spirituality of the law as our Lord did, and show how it is broken by evil thoughts, intents, and imaginations. By this means many sinners will be pricked in their hearts. Old Robbie Flockhart used to say, “It is of no use trying to sew with the silken thread of the gospel unless we pierce the way for it with the sharp needle of the law.” The law goes first, like the needle, and draws the gospel thread after it: therefore preach concerning sin, righteousness, and judgment to come. Let such language as that of the fifty-first Psalm be often explained: show that God requireth truth in the inward parts, and that purging with sacrificial blood is absolutely needful. Aim at the heart. Probe the wound and touch the very quick of the soul. Spare not the sterner themes, for men must be wounded before they can be healed, and slain before they can be made alive. No man will ever put on the robe of Christ’s righteousness till he is stripped of his fig leaves, nor will he wash in the fount of mercy till he perceives his filthiness. Therefore, my brethren, we must not cease to declare the law, its demands, its threatenings, and the sinner’s multiplied breaches of it.

  1. Randy says:

    Wow! No wonder they call him the prince of preachers. The law is good if we use it right. It is a great tool for witnessing. Lately when I pray for someone that’s lost, I pray Father break them with your holy law and heal the with your glorious gospel. We must be ready to share them both with the lost. Lord help us to witness correctly and effectively. Great post Bill.

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