His by conquest

“The Lord’s portion is his people.” — Deuteronomy 32:9

Spurgeon in Morning and Evening asks the question:

“How are they his?”

He then gives three answers to his question:

1. They are His by his own sovereign choice.

2. They are His by purchase. 

3. They are His by conquest. 

It is the last point that struck me as I read Spurgeon’s words this morning.  Not only has God chosen us before the foundation of the world.  Not only has Christ paid for our sins.  He has battled and defeated our rebellious hearts that hate Him.

Or as Spurgeon puts it:

“What a battle he had in us before we would be won! How long he laid siege to our hearts! How often he sent us terms of capitulation! but we barred our gates, and fenced our walls against him. Do we not remember that glorious hour when he carried our hearts by storm? When he placed his cross against the wall, and scaled our ramparts, planting on our strongholds the blood-red flag of his omnipotent mercy? Yes, we are, indeed, the conquered captives of his omnipotent love. Thus chosen, purchased, and subdued, the rights of our divine possessor are inalienable: we rejoice that we never can be our own; and we desire, day by day, to do his will, and to show forth his glory.”

We point to the gospel by WHEN we baptise

This is the seventh in a series of posts looking at the subject of baptism.  Part 1 is HERE, Part 2 is HERE, Part 3 is HERE, Part 4 is HERE, Part 5 is HERE, Part 6 is HERE. 

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In this post I want us to think about the final way we point to the gospel in the way we baptise people and that’s WHEN we baptize them.  

The examples the book of Acts gives is of people getting baptised very soon after becoming Christians.  

In Acts 2, Peter says “Repent and be baptised” and those who accepted His message were baptised that day. 

In Acts 8:36 when the man from Ethiopia heard Jesus preached to Him, his immediate response was “Look, here is water.  Why shouldn’t I be baptised?” 

The Philippian jailer in Acts 16:31: ”then immediately he and all his family were baptised.” 

But nowadays it is more common for there to be a period of time between someone becoming Christian and them being baptised.  Are we doing something wrong? 

Here are a few comments to make about this: 

Firstly, by waiting, we are not saying that the person is not a Christian.  In delaying baptism we need to be careful that we don’t cause people to doubt the genuineness of their faith. 

Secondly, if we believe that only believers should be baptised, then it is important that we make sure that to the best of our knowledge the person wanting to be baptised is a believer.  As Jesus’ parable of the sower shows this can take time. 

Thirdly, in the case of children and young people, we can’t put an age at which they can be baptised.  Things such as maturity, understanding of its significance, the parents view (especially with unbelieving parents) are all factors to be considered. 

But on this it is interesting to note that Spurgeon who was known for preaching and practicing the important of leading children to conversion waited to baptise his own sons who had been Christians for years until they were 18. 

Then fourthly, delaying baptism can be a way of focusing people on the gospel because again it makes it clear the need to repent before being baptised. 

We can point people to the gospel by when we baptise Christians.

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Spurgeon on Paul’s books

A great section from Spurgeon’s sermon ‘Paul – his cloak and his books’ on 2 Timothy 4:13.  (HT: Justin Taylor)

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“We do not know what the books were about, and we can only form some guess as to what the parchments were. Paul had a few books which were left, perhaps wrapped up in the cloak, and Timothy was to be careful to bring them. Even an apostle must read.  

Some of our very ultra Calvinistic brethren think that a minister who reads books and studies his sermon must be a very deplorable specimen of a preacher. A man who comes up into the pulpit, professes to take his text on the spot, and talks any quantity of nonsense, is the idol of many. If he will speak without premeditation, or pretend to do so, and never produce what they call a dish of dead men’s brains-oh! that is the preacher. How rebuked are they by the apostle!  

He is inspired, and yet he wants books!  

He has been preaching at least for thirty years, and yet he wants books!  

He had seen the Lord, and yet he wants books!  

He had had a wider experience than most men, and yet he wants books!  

He had been caught up into the third heaven, and had heard things which it was unlawful for a men to utter, yet he wants books!  

He had written the major part of the New Testament, and yet he wants books!  

The apostle says to Timothy and so he says to every preacher, “Give thyself unto reading.” The man who never reads will never be read; he who never quotes will never be quoted. He who will not use the thoughts of other men’s brains, proves that he has no brains of his own.  

Brethren, what is true of ministers is true of all our people. You need to read. Renounce as much as you will all light literature, but study as much as possible sound theological works, especially the Puritanic writers, and expositions of the Bible. We are quite persuaded that the very best way for you to be spending your leisure, is to be either reading or praying. You may get much instruction from books which afterwards you may use as a true weapon in your Lord and Master’s service. Paul cries, “Bring the books”-join in the cry.”

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Spurgeon and the Met Tab Windows

“Spurgeon was exasperated by the fact that the Metropolitan Tabernacle windows were jammed shut, resulting in thin air and sleepy congregation.  No money had been allocated to replace these windows so, (it is alleged) – under cover of darkness – Spurgeon removed those windows with the end of his walking cane.”

(told by Richard Cunningham, nb: Winter 2008)

Open Air / Street Evangelism

Notes from a talk given by Steve Gurnett from OAC-Streetwise on ‘Open Air/Street Evangelism’ at the Capital Youthworks youthworker training morningOAC-Streetwise is a giveaway ministry involves in sharing the gospel in the open air plus work in schools, prison and training others to do evangelism. 

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Why do Christians have a problem with open air evangelism? 

  • They don’t know how to do it.
  • Their ministers don’t like doing it.
  • They are afraid of looking like a loony.
  • It’s scary!
  • It’s hard work, its cold, and people walk away from you.
  • We’re in a ‘come and see’ culture. 

What’s the problem with only inviting people to church/youth group (‘come and see’)? 

  • It communicates to Christian that the gospel is not that important.
  • It communicates that the church/youth group will share the gospel for you so you don’t have to go out and do it yourself.
  • It communicates that the church/youth group is the only place where the gospel is shared.
  • It communicates to those outside the church that the gospel is not that important and it’s not for them. 

Some people will say that street preaching doesn’t work, well that’s because we don’t do it.  Why aren’t we good at street preaching?  We don’t do it enough.  Like everything it requires practice. 

Saints of old on open air preaching 

John Wesley: “What marvel the devil does not love field preaching! Neither do I; I love a commodious room, a soft cushion, a handsome pulpit But where is my zeal, if I do not trample all these underfoot in order to save one more soul?”  

Charles Spurgeon: “No sort of defence is needed for preaching out of doors; but it would need very potent arguments to prove that a man had done his duty who has never preached beyond the walls of his meeting-house. A defence is required rather for services within buildings than for worship outside of them.” 

Open Air Preaching Tips 

  • Outside the church is where people feel comfortable but is often the place we don’t.
  • When doing open-air evangelism wear red so that you stand out.
  • Don’t use PA so people are forced to come to you to hear what you’re saying.
  • Be yourself.
  • Try to pray with people before they leave.
  • Keep going back to the same place.
  • A prayer to pray: “Lord, will you give me the opportunity to talk about you today!” 

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