Friday, April 21, 2017

Lessons from the life and ministry of Spurgeon

I recently read two biographies on the great British preacher and pastor of the nineteenth century, Charles Haddon Spurgeon. One book was a traditional biography by Arnold Dallimore titled "Spurgeon" and the other is titled the "Forgotten Spurgeon" by Iain Murray where he seeks to explain the man by the theological controversies and ministerial challenges he faced throughout his ministry. Having read the two books coupled with the lessons he taught ministers in training, here are some lessons we can glean from the man and his ministry

It is essential that you keep growing
Spurgeon understood the need for a preacher to keep growing. In speaking to the students in the ministerial college, he urged them on the necessity of ministerial progress for a preacher. He highlights four areas where growth is needed. “It is desirable that the Lord’s ministers should be the picked men of the church, yea of the entire universe, for such the age demands; therefore, in reference to yourselves and your personal qualifications, I give you the motto, “Go forward.” Go forward in personal attainments, forward in gifts and in grace, forward in fitness for the work, and forward in conformity to the image of Jesus.”[1]

Preaching should be central to a pastor and the church
From a tender age of 17, Spurgeon was a preacher and preaching was central to his ministry. Though he was a man who wore many hats, preaching was by far his main priority and invariably become central to the life of the church. And his preaching proclaimed Christ and him crucified. And he himself claimed:  
The motto of all true servants of God must be, ‘We preach Christ; and him crucified.’ A sermon without Christ in it is like a loaf of bread without any flour in it. No Christ in your sermon, sir? Then go home, and never preach again until you have something worth preaching.” [7/9/1876; sermon #2899]

Ministers should be men of action
He exhorts ministers by saying, “I have to say to you, go forward in actual work, for, after all, we shall be known by what we have done. We ought to be mighty in deed as well as word. There are good brethren in the world who are impractical. The grand doctrine of the Second Advent makes them stand with open mouths, peering into the skies, so that I am ready to say, “Ye men of Plymouth, why stand ye here gazing up into heaven?” The fact that Jesus Christ is to come is not a reason for star-gazing, but for working in the power of the Holy Ghost” He then concludes the charge by exhorting the men “Brethren, do something; do something; do something. While committees waste their time over resolutions, do something. While Societies and Unions are making constitutions, let us win souls. Too often we discuss, and discuss, and discuss, and Satan laughs in his sleeve. It is time we had done planning and sought something to plan. I pray you: be men of action all of you. Get to work and quit yourselves like men. Old Suvarov’s idea of war is mine: “Forward and strike! No theory! Attack! Form column: Charge bayonets! Plunge into the center of the enemy.” Our one aim is to save sinners, and this we are not to talk about, but to do in the power of God.”[2]   

[1] C.H. Spurgeon. Lectures to my Students. Pg 235
[2] Ibid. Pg 248

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