In his book, The Conviction to Lead, Albert Mohler quotes from Eugene Peterson’s Perseverance: A Long Obedience in the Same Direction.
Everyone is in a hurry. The persons whom I lead in worship, among whom I counsel, visit, pray, preach, and teach, want shortcuts. They want me to help them fill in the form that will get them instant credit (in eternity). They are impatient for results. They have adopted the lifestyle of a tourist and only want the high points…The Christian life cannot mature under such conditions and in such ways.
–Eugene Peterson (emphasis mine)
Charles Haddon Spurgeon was born on June 19, 1834 at Kelvedon, Essex in England. He was the first of seventeen children in his family. Known as The Prince of Preachers, Spurgeon’s sermons were used of God to breathe life into countless people. In honor of his birthday, note the circumstances of two conversions that happened – one before his sermon and the other after.
Before the Sermon
On one occasion Spurgeon was to preach in a large agricultural hall. Prior to the time of his preaching, he stepped to the location at which he would stand so as to test the acoustics of the building.
In 1863 the Irish hymnwriter, Charitie Lees Bancroft wrote the hymn Before the Throne of God Above. The hymn was comprised of six verses. I want us to focus in on the fourth verse.
Because the sinless Savior died,
My sinful soul is counted free;
For God, the just, is satisfied
To look on Him and pardon me.
Salvation is not the reward for a well lived Christian life.
Bruce Case is an airline pilot and also an elder in our church, First Boynton. Near the end of his sermon on Sunday, he made the statement that I have quoted above.
The statement serves as an important warning to many in our culture and probably in our churches. These folks might not say out loud that God is rewarding them with salvation based on their actions or performance, but they often live and talk like it works that way.
While reading in Exodus this morning, the account of the Israelites crossing the Red Sea was part of the text. The euphoria of being delivered from bondage in Egypt suddenly disappeared as the former slaves noticed that Pharaoh and his army were hot on their heels. On one side they were apparently trapped by the sea and on the other side was an angry army. What to do?
The fearful mass of people began crying out to the Lord and to Moses. They assumed that the ground on which they stood would become their graves. The situation did appear daunting as viewed from ground level. Moses gives instruction that that can be summarized in these four simple statements. (I apologize in advance if these summations appear cheesy, but they hit me like this and have been easy for me to remember.)