12 April 2008

Where True Mars-Hill-Style Ministry Will Get You

Your weekly dose of Spurgeon
posted by Phil Johnson

The PyroManiacs devote some space each weekend to highlights from The Spurgeon Archive. The following excerpt is from "Three Crosses," a sermon preached at some undetermined time in the Met Tab, and first published in 1878.


nce Saul was a great rabbi, a man profoundly versed in Hebrew lore, a Pharisee of the Pharisees, and much admired. He was also a classic scholar and a philosophic thinker, a man of great mental powers, and fit to take the lead in learned circles.

But when Paul began to preach Christ crucified—"Bah," they said, "he is an utter fool! Heed him not!" Or else they said, "Down with him! He is an apostate!" They cursed him. His name brought wrath into the face of all Jews that mentioned it, and all intelligent Greeks likewise. "Paul? He is nobody!" He was everybody when he thought their way: he is nobody now that he thinks in God's way.

And then they put him to open shame by suspecting all his motives, and by misrepresenting all his actions. It did not matter what Paul did, they were quite certain that he was self-seeking; that he was endeavoring to make a fine thing of it for himself. When he acted so that they were forced to own that he was right, they put it in such a light that they made it out to be wrong.

There were some who denied his apostleship, and said that he was never sent of God; and others questioned his ability to preach the gospel. So they crucified poor Paul one way and another to the full. They went further still. They despised, they shunned him. His old friends forsook him. Some got out of the way, others pointed at him the finger of scorn in the streets. His persecutors showed their rancour against him, now stoning him with lynch-law, and anon with a semblance of legality dragging him before the magistrates. Paul was crucified to them.

As for his teaching, they decried him as a babbler—a setter-forth of strange gods. I dare say they often sneered at the cross of Christ which he preached as a nine days' wonder, an almost exploded doctrine, and said, "If you do but shut the mouths of such men as Paul, it will soon be forgotten." I have heard them say in modern times to lesser men, "Your old-fashioned Puritanism is nearly dead, ere long it will be utterly extinct!" But we preach Christ crucified; the same old doctrine as the apostles preached, and for this by the contempt of the worldly wise we are crucified.

Now, dear Christian friends, if you keep to the cross of Christ you must expect to have this for your portion. The world will be crucified to you, and you will be crucified to the world. You will get the cold shoulder. Old friends will become open foes. They will begin to hate you more than they loved you before. At home your foes will be the men of your own household. You will hardly be able to do anything right. When you joined in their revels you were a fine fellow; when you could drink, and sing a lascivious song, you were a jolly good fellow; but now they rate you as a fool; they scout you as a hypocrite; and slanderously blacken your character. Let their dislike be a badge of your discipleship, and say, "Now also the world is crucified to me, and I unto the world. Whatever the world says against me for Christ's sake is the maundering of a doomed malefactor, and what do I care for that? And, on the other hand, if I be rejected and despised, I am only taking what I always expected—my crucifixion—in my poor, humble way, after the manner of Christ himself, who was despised and rejected of men."

The moral and the lesson of it all is this: Whatever comes of it, still glory in Christ. Go in for this, dear friends, that whether ye be in honor or in dishonor, in good report or in evil report, whether God multiply your substance and make you rich, or diminish it and make you poor, you will still glory in the cross of Christ. If you have health, and strength and vigor to work for him, or if you have to lie upon a bed of languishing and bear in patience all your heavenly Father's will, resolve that you will still glory in the cross. Let this be the point of your glorying throughout your lives. Go down the steeps of Jordan, and go through Jordan itself, still glorying in the cross, for in the heaven of glory you will find that the blood-bought hosts celebrate the cross as the trophy of their redemption.
C. H. Spurgeon


13 comments:

The Spokesman said...

But when Paul began to preach Christ crucified—"Bah," they said, "he is an utter fool! Heed him not!" Or else they said, "Down with him! He is an apostate!" They cursed him. His name brought wrath into the face of all Jews that mentioned it, and all intelligent Greeks likewise. "Paul? He is nobody!" He was everybody when he thought their way: he is nobody now that he thinks in God's way.

It is impossible to be popular (spoken well of by all men) and God's spokesman at the same time! And there is no persecution for those who think like the world and talk like the world.

Stephen said...

A Big Thank You for this Wonderful Post
God Bless you
Shalom

dickkopf said...

Hello, Pyromaniacs and friends:

Once more, Spurgeon has reduced this former Marine to tears.

Please don't tell my Gunnery Sergeant.

Nah, go ahead, he won't believe you anyway!:=)

Love,
Peter

pastorbrianculver said...

I reposted a post on my blog yesterday and this is precisely what it was about. It was about standing up and fighting for the Truth of God's Word. I had a troll come to my site and say that we shouldn't fight and that the world will love you if you love them the way Jesus loved them! He is an emergent youth pastor (5 churches in the past 10 years!). He does not think that Jesus ever said the word Repent. It amazes me how this seminary trained pastor (youth and family) has no clue as to what it means to be a true christian!

John said...

Yes pastor,

I have been amazed at the same thing. People coming out of seminary, even a good seminary, who do not seem to know anything about the Bible or gospel.

The picture that went with this post was appropriate. Those words are on fire!

Rick Frueh said...

The last paragraph of the Spurgeon post could be preached or read every day. It is magnificent when truth is presented in devotional form.

The Doulos said...

pastorbrianculver:

I feel your pain. I've recently been in cyber-dialog with a few young men who are serving in ministry in a church, trying to help them to think in Biblical and theological ways - because none of them have had any real Biblical or theological training. One of them is currently pursuing a masters from a seminary - in "Christian leadership", whatever that means. My conversations with these young men, who mean well but are unequipped for the work of the ministry of the Gospel, has been frustrating. I appeal to systematic theological doctrines with Scriptural support, and in response get arguments based on "I think" and "I feel". Ahhhhh!

I have a son who is finishing his last year of Bible college and looking for a seminary. Thank the Lord he's being very discerning in selecting which seminary to go to. As you point out, many/most today aren't equipping the next generation of shepherds with the Biblical knowledge to do the task.

Bryan Riley said...

Doulos,

It is a serious problem, and I believe it may arise because many tend to preach at rather than make disciples. Our method of raising up godly young teachers and pastors of the gospel is more like the world's model for education than it is the one Jesus used with His disciples.

As to what Spurgeon wrote here, it is fantastic. Yes and amen. If only more would stick to the glory of Jesus and what He did because of God's great love, then we wouldn't be so filled with disunity in the bible. Unfortunately, many make mountains out of molehills, promoting "doctrine" above the gospel.

As to being popular or not, someone who preaches and lives love like Paul and Jesus did often get slammed by the religious elite.

Bryan Riley said...

Sorry, I didn't reread my comment before pressing publish... i have no idea what I mean by "disunity in the bible." LOL. What I meant was disunity in the Body.

4given said...

...wow... I can't stop crying. I needed to read this.

donsands said...

We sang "When I Survey the Wondrous Cross" in service today.

"Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all."

This last half-verse is the capstone to the rest of the magnificent words of this hymn for me. It always grips my heart to sing these 12 words, and always then pray that these words would be the greatest affection of my heart.

thanks for another excellent post from the "prince of preachers".

The Spokesman said...

As to being popular or not, someone who preaches and lives love like Paul and Jesus did often get slammed by the religious elite.

As to being popular, based on the authority and words of Jesus, a man is a false prophet - "Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for their fathers used to treat the false prophets in the same way" (Luke 6:26).

As to being persecuted for being God's spokesman (for the sake of speaking truth), based on the authority and words of Jesus, a man is a true prophet - "Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you" (Matthew 5:11-12).

This is the expected lot of all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus and Spurgeon nailed this truth down in this excerpt from his sermon.

Bryan Riley said...

Spokesman - we agree. :)