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  • Samuel at Gilgal

    This year I will be sharing brief excerpts from the articles, sermons, and books I am currently reading. My posts will not follow a regular schedule but will be published as I find well-written thoughts that should be of interest to maturing Christian readers. Whenever possible, I encourage you to go to the source and read the complete work of the author.

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The Self-Sufficient Minister

Charles Haddon Spurgeon

I fear for preachers and congregations who appear to have renounced a holy reverence for Scripture. The Word of God is no longer their teacher, but they are its critics. The Word of the Lord is no longer given the place of honor; but it is treated as a common literary work. These men look at the books of Scripture and presume to judge the Spirit of God. God does not work through such ministers who hold the Scriptures in secret contempt. C. H. Spurgeon explains why:

Some men are too self-sufficient for God to use. . . . Oh, to be rid of self! Oh, to quit every pretence of wisdom! Many are very superior persons, and so when they get God’s message they correct it, and interpolate their own ideas; they dream that the old gospel cannot be quite suitable to these enlightened days. . . . They not only interpolate, but they omit; because they judge that certain truths have become obsolete by the lapse of time. In this way, what with additions and subtractions, little is left of the pure words of God. The apostles are generally the first to be sent adrift. Poor Paul! Poor Paul! He has come in for very hard times just lately, as if the Spirit of God did not speak through Paul with as much authority as when he spoke through the Lord Jesus. Note well how our Lord deigns to put himself on a level with his apostles when he says, “The word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me”; and in his final prayer he prayed for those who would believe on him through the apostles’ word, as much as to say, that if they would not believe on him through the word of the apostles, they would not believe at all. John, speaking of himself and his fellow-apostles, has said by the Holy Ghost, “He that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error.” This is the test of believers at the present time: the rejection of the apostles condemns the modern school.

Brethren, may the Lord give us great humility of mind. It ought not to be an extraordinary thing for us to accept what God says. It ought not to take much humility for such poor creatures as we are to sit at Jesus’ feet. We ought to look upon it as an elevation of mind for our spirit to lie prostrate before infinite wisdom. Assuredly this is needful to the reception of power from God.

I have noticed, too, that if God’s power comes to a man with a message, he not only has childlikeness of mind, but he has also singleness of eye. Such a man, trying to hear what God the Lord shall speak, is all ears. He honestly and eagerly desires to know what God’s mind is, and he applies all his faculties to the reception of the divine communication. As he drinks in the sacred message, with a complete surrender of soul, he is resolved to give it out with the entire concentration of his mental and spiritual powers, and with a single eye to the glory of God. Unless you have but one eye, and that one eye sees Christ and his glory in the salvation of men, God will not use you. The man, whose eyes cannot look straight on, must not be admitted a priest unto the living God. (Sermon to Preachers: “The Preacher’s Power, and the Conditions of Obtaining it.”)

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