Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Charles Spurgeon: Prince of Preachers

Over the last few weeks I have been writing about a document I keep on the desktop of my computer entitled, “My Motivation.” It is designed to remind and inspire and focus me toward Christ-centered living, but it’s comprised of pictures rather than words. Nine of the fifteen pictures are of various men of God who inspire me for a number of reasons, the ninth of whom is Charles Spurgeon.

Spurgeon came to know Jesus at the age of 16, and only four years later was called to be the preaching Pastor of New Park Street Chapel in London, England, later called The Metropolitan Tabernacle. Spurgeon would serve the Lord there for some thirty-nine years, during which time he preached to around 100,000 people!

Of all the preachers who might appear on my personal wall of faith, I chose Spurgeon for several reasons. First, his preaching was deeply rooted in and saturated with the Bible. He was committed to the Word of God without apology in an age where modernism was sweeping the culture, and the church, and Bible preachers were widely counted to be less than intelligent or educated or cultured. But he stood on the firm foundation of the Word of God, and therefore we are still talking about, and benefiting from, his ministry today.

Second, because he was faithful to the Bible, he did not shrink back from teaching biblical theology to the church he served, and he did not tremble at identifying himself as a Calvinist, although he preferred to be called a biblical Christian. It takes courage to teach hard and controversial things over time, and for this I respect him very much.

Third, by the grace of God, Spurgeon was fruitful in ministry, by which I mean he not only instructed the church in a broad sense, but also trained many preachers, teachers, ministers and missionaries. And as if that were not enough, he won many souls to Christ through his passionate biblical preaching. He is living proof that a preacher can have a consuming passion for the Word and the lost at the same time.

Fourth, Spurgeon was faithful to the church he served, staying there for nearly four decades and only parting via death. God does not call every preacher to invest his entire life in one place, but he does call some to this. Since I feel that my calling is to stay at GCF for a long time, Spurgeon is a glowing example of faithfulness to me.

Finally, although his ministry was solid and courageous and fruitful and faithful, Spurgeon did experience his share of suffering. Beside the constant battles that come with being in ministry, he also suffered with depression all his life. But Spurgeon believed in the sovereignty of God, and thus thanked God for his trials. He once said that the good he gained from easy times could fit on a penny, but that the good he received from trials, by the grace of God, could neither be counted nor contained. I so respect those who know how to suffer to the glory of God.

May the Lord continue to increase the fruit of his faithful servant, 
Pastor Charlie

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