Saturday, July 26, 2008

Spurgeon's "My Sermon - Notes" - Genesis 19

Spurgeon looks at the passage found in Genesis where two angels from God go to Sodom and while they are there they find Lot and his family. What he sees in these two angels example is, in his own words, that "they teach us how to deal with men if we are to arouse and bless them." He is talking about all men grouped into two categories; those who know Christ and those who do not.

Spurgeon sees 4 things we can do when dealing with men in the angels' actions. He sees the angels go to the home of Lot. He sees them telling them what is going to happen to Sodom. He sees them urging and persuading them to heed their words, and he sees them eventually "resort to a loving violence" when they took a hold of them and force them to leave.

The first point of his outline is "The Righteous need to be hastened."

What should the Righteous be hastened in? What should the Christian be kicked in the butt about? Spurgeon says first, in obeying God. Second, in becoming different from the world. Third, in trying to better one's family. Fourth, in general, doing quickly what we ought to do as Christians.

It is interesting that he threw that third point in. We are to better our families, or in his own words, "[seek] the good of their families." The best thing for any of our families is Jesus Christ.
Looking at all four things though I can easily see the reason why Spurgeon feels we need encouragement/and or persuasion. I admit, I have a hard time obeying God when it comes to certain things. It reallys stems from Spurgeon's second point. I disobey when it conflicts with worldly habits or hang-ups I want to hold on to. The world is such a "me-centered" world that even though we have families we tend to forget about them in light of our personal wants and desires. Overall, we are constantly struggling as spiritual beings doing those spiritual things God has called us to do.

Spurgeon gives 5 reasons why we need to be "hastened" or encouraged (or kicked in the butt). He says that our flesh is weak, perseverance is difficult, Sodom "the world" influences us to move slowly on the things that are important, we tend to let the world consume our thinking which in turn hinders us from making the important decisions, and the more we wonder around with no purpose in the world the more we are apt to do nothing concerning religion.

Is Spurgeon really talking about the 19th century, because it sure sounds like the good ol' (or bad ol') 21 century. It goes to show that man has been struggling with the same issues since the beginning of time. It is something I have personally struggled with and see others struggling with. In fact, let me use church camp as an illustration. Since the time I was a camp counselor I have struggled with an ever occurring phenomonon. I have seen teens break down and weep as they realize their sins have separated them from God. I've seen them make commitments of living changed lives during very emotional times. I've seen them go home and changed lives...for awhile and then turn back to their old ways. And I would ask myself "What is the problem!?" I think Spurgeon answered it quite clearly.

So how are Christians supposed to be encouraged to do what needs to be done? Spurgeon says that we need to be constantly reminded of our obligations, of God given opportunities and of the days we have already wasted. We need to be reminded that time is short, even though it may seem to be long. We need to hear the warning that our friends (and family) are facing eternal torment if nothing is done. We need to know that by doing nothing we are sinning and such sin naturally leads to other sins.

Not only do we as Christians need to be encouraged but so do the non-Christians ("Sinners"). Spurgeon says that "Sinners are very slow, and apt to linger." Why? They have become settled in the world. They are bound to it. They do not believe the warnings that it will come to an end. They make lite of the message God has given us to give them. Satan encourages them to put off making the most important decision they will ever make. No matter how hard we try to persuade, procrastination is an every pressing enemy.

Even so, our "business" as Christians is to encourage them to make the right choice. How do we do this? We need to be ourselves just like the angels were. We need to be patient, but persistent at the same time. We must be resolved in our endeavors to share Christ with them.

We have a very wonderful advantage working with us. His name is the Holy Spirit. As we persuade we need to pray (my thoughts) that the Holy Spirit will make them see (Spurgeon's thoughts): the danger they are in as they put off making a decision for Christ, the sin of sticking around when God has called them out of the world, the lack of stability the present holds in view of the future, the uncertainty of any good future at all, and the necessity of making a decision rigth now for it could be a case of "now or never". Even though we can (and should) make such arguments, it is ultimately the Holy Spirit's job to open their eyes.

Spurgeon was a Calvanist who believed in election and predistination and yet he could not ignore Scripture "that man is responsible for all his actions." When he saw predestination he preached predestination. When he saw free will he preached free will. His passion was for the lost and he was constantly proclaiming the Good News of Jesus Christ. What a wonderful sermon from Genesis 19.

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