Category Archives: Evangelism

“Why am I such a stranger to the poor of my native town?” by Robert Murray M’Cheyne

“March 3.—Accompanied A. B. in one of his rounds through some of the most miserable habitations I ever beheld. Such scenes I never before dreamed of.

Ah! Why am I such a stranger to the poor of my native town? I have passed their doors thousands of times. I have admired the huge black piles of building, with their lofty chimneys breaking the sun’s rays.

Why have I never ventured within? How dwelleth the love of God in me? How cordial is the welcome even of the poorest and most loathsome to the voice of Christian sympathy!

What imbedded masses of human beings are huddled together, unvisited by friend or minister! ‘No man careth for our souls’ is written over every forehead.

Awake, my soul! Why should I give hours and days any longer to the vain world, when there is such a world of misery at my very door?

Lord, put Thine own strength in me. Confirm every good resolution. Forgive my past long life of uselessness and folly.”

–Robert Murray M’Cheyne, Memoir and Remains of the Rev. Robert Murray M’Cheyne, Ed. Andrew A. Bonar (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 1844/1966), 34.

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“The only source and fountain of true happiness” by Jonathan Edwards

“We must be sanctified and made holy, and all the men and angels in the universe can’t do that. They have not power enough to raze out the old image of Satan, nor skills enough to draw the image of God upon our souls.

This is a work of the almighty power and wisdom of God, which is Christ: ‘Christ the power of God, and wisdom of God,’ (1 Corinthians 1:24); ‘And what is the exceeding greatness of His power towards us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power,’ (Ephesians 1:19).

There is none else that can fill our hearts with grace. We must receive of His fullness and grace for grace.

‘Tis He alone that has received the Spirit without measure: ‘For He whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God, for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto Him’ (John 3:34).

He is an infinite vessel. He has enough for Himself and for us too, but it is not so with angels.

None else can give us spiritual wisdom, for none know the things of the Spirit. And Christ alone can send into our hearts the Holy Spirit to dwell in us, to teach us heavenly things.

There is no other Vine that we can be ingrafted into, that can communicate vital and spiritual nourishment, and, at last eternal life unto us but Christ alone, by whom and for whom are all things, who is before all things, by whom all things consist.

There needs an almighty power to give us our natural life, and less will not suffice to give us our spiritual life.

There is no one else who can conquer our enemies but Christ alone: Power that can conquer the world, power that can triumph over the devil and make a show of him openly, as Christ did upon the cross; power that overcame death and broke his bands, power that can take away his sting, and power that can raise us up at the last day; power that can make us happy when we get into the other world.

Christ Jesus is the only source and fountain of true happiness. ‘Tis He alone that can fill the soul and satisfy it forever.

Christ Jesus is the only complete Redeemer that has worthiness enough, that has enough power, and enough wisdom, and an inexhaustible fountain of grace sufficient for our spiritual life here and our eternal life hereafter.”

–Jonathan Edwards, “Life Through Christ Alone” in Sermons and Discourses, 1720-1723, The Works of Jonathan Edwards, Vol. 10. Ed. Wilson H. Kimnach (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2006), 524-525. You can read this sermon on John 6:68 in its entirety here.

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“To whom will you flee for help?” by Jonathan Edwards

“‘Whither will you go?‘ You who will not receive Christ: where do you propose to go?

Where do you think to find anyone else that hath the words of eternal life?

To whom will you flee for help?

Where do poor, cheated souls think to find another Savior?

Is there ever another God that delivers you from the wrath of this God, who is Jehovah?

Is there ever another mighty Savior that you think will do as well as Christ?

Is there ever another captain that you intend to enlist under that can by his almighty power deliver you from all evil, that can conquer all your enemies and bestow an eternal crown and kingdom upon you?

Do you expect to find another Savior, of another kind, that will indulge you and let you go on in sin as much as you please?

Where is this other Savior that you are going to and trust in?

Who is he?

In what part of the world does he dwell? Let us know.

This other Savior will be found to be only that old serpent, the devil. It will come to this at last.

Well, and what do you expect of the devil?

Is he able to save you?

Is he able to fight against God and overcome him?

Will he ever bestow eternal life upon you?

Has he the words of eternal life?

Has he got a heaven, too, that you expect to enjoy a better heaven than the heaven into which Christ is ascended?

What is it that you think to receive of him?

Don’t you think that he intends to ruin and destroy, and forever to torment you when he has once got you in his power?

Why, then, do you follow after him so diligently, as if he could give you eternal life?

Or is there anyone else that has the words of eternal life?

Is it riches and pleasure and worldly prosperity?

Can you suck eternal life out of them, or to whom will you go?

Certainly you expect eternal life, or something as good as eternal life, from some being or other. Who is it?

Consider and see who it is.

If you don’t come to Christ, consider what you intend to do. Something must be done or you are miserable forever.

Now what is that thing that you have thought?

Will you let yourself alone and be unconcerned about eternal life, and let yourself go down into hell as fast as the devil and your lusts can carry you?

If you don’t intend so to neglect yourself, but intend to do something, what is it except you come to Jesus Christ?

Will you put trust in your own performances?

Will you give your goods to the poor or do some very good deed and so depend upon that, and think that God is obliged to you for it, or that you make amends for your sins by it?

Will you be much in prayer and reading the Scriptures, and the duties of divine worship, and think by them to procure everlasting life?

This will not do.

You can’t do more in duties than what is duty, and whatsoever is done therein that is not your indispensable duty is sin.

What other project yet have you in your minds?

All projects and contrivances are vain and senseless but only that way which infinite wisdom has contrived, and none but infinite wisdom could project, even the dying Son of God.

If there is any cheaper way of getting to heaven than the blood of the Son of God, that you can think of, doubtless God would have thought of it before you, and so Christ’s blood might have been spared.

Wherefore, stand no longer, for if ever you get to heaven any other way than by faith in Christ, it will be because you are wiser than God.

Come, therefore, to this rock at last.

For hitherto you have been wandering about like Noah’s dove and have found no rest for the sole of your foot, nor never will till you return to this ark.

Come, therefore, and trust in Him, and yield yourself to Him, sweetly reposing yourself on Him.

For He hath the words of eternal life.”

–Jonathan Edwards, “Life Through Christ Alone” in Sermons and Discourses, 1720-1723, The Works of Jonathan Edwards, Vol. 10. Ed. Wilson H. Kimnach (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2006), 528-530. You can read this sermon on John 6:68 in its entirety here.

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“Work hard at the passing on of the gospel” by D.A. Carson

“Work hard at the passing on of the gospel. As you know as well as I, there were no chapter breaks or verse breaks when these manuscripts were first written, so the end of chapter 1 runs smoothly into the beginning of chapter 2.

‘You, then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses, entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others.’

In other words, in the light of the flow from the end of chapter 1, the way you preserve the pattern of sound teaching, the way you guard the gospel, the way you elevate the good news of Jesus Christ is not simply by going in an isolated fashion to a defensive posture but precisely by training a new generation.

In other words, one of the ways you preserve the gospel is precisely by finding another generation to tap them on the shoulder and becoming a mentor to them so they themselves learn the gospel well.

Otherwise, no matter how faithful you are, the most you have done is preserved it while you’re still alive. Which means your vision is small.

So one of the responsibilities, in other words, of any generation of Christian leader is precisely to preserve the pattern of sound teaching, to preserve the gospel, to glory in it, to teach it, to evangelize, to establish believers in it and be willing to suffer for it precisely by mentoring a whole new generation coming along behind who themselves prove to be reliable men who will be able and qualified to teach others.”

–D. A. Carson, “Motivation for Ministry,” in D. A. Carson Sermon Library (Bellingham, WA: Faithlife, 2016), 2 Ti 1:1–2:2.

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“That happy day” by Charles Spurgeon

“I sometimes think I might have been in darkness and despair until now had it not been for the goodness of God in sending a snowstorm, one Sunday morning, while I was going to a certain place of worship. When I could go no further, I turned down a side street, and came to a little Primitive Methodist Chapel.

In that chapel there may have been a dozen or fifteen people. I had heard of the Primitive Methodists, how they sang so loudly that they made people’s heads ache; but that did not matter to me.

I wanted to know how I might be saved, and if they could tell me that, I did not care how much they made my head ache. The minister did not come that morning; he was snowed up, I suppose.

At last, a very thin-looking man, a shoemaker, of tailor, or something of that sort, went up into the pulpit to preach. Now, it is well that preachers should be instructed; but this man was really stupid.

He was obliged to stick to his text, for the simple reason that he had little else to say. The text was,—

‘LOOK UNTO ME, AND BE YE SAVED, ALL THE ENDS OF THE EARTH’ (Isaiah 45:22)

He did not even pronounce the words rightly, but that did not matter. There was, I thought, a glimpse of hope for me in that text.

The preacher began thus:—’My dear friends, this is a very simple text indeed. It says, ‘Look’. Now lookin’ don’t take a deal of pains. It ain’t liftin’ your foot or your finger; it is just, ‘Look.’ Well, a man needn’t go to College to learn to look. You may be the biggest fool, and yet you can look. A man needn’t be worth a thousand a year to be able to look. Anyone can look; even a child can look. But then the text says, ‘Look unto Me.’

‘Ay!’ said he, in broad Essex, ‘many on ye are lookin’ to yourselves, but it’s no use lookin’ there. You’ll never find any comfort in yourselves. Some look to God the Father. No, look to Him by-and-by. Jesus Christ says, ‘Look unto Me’. Some on ye say, ‘We must wait for the Spirit’s workin’.’ You have no business with that just now. Look to Christ. The text says. ‘Look unto Me.’

Then the good man followed up his text in this way:—’Look unto Me; I am sweatin’ great drops of blood. Look unto Me; I am hangin’ on the cross. Look unto Me; I am dead and buried. Look unto Me; I rise again. Look unto Me; I ascend to Heaven. Look unto Me; I am sittin’ at the Father’s right hand. O poor sinner, look unto Me! look unto Me!’

When he had gone to about that length, and managed to spin out ten minutes or so, he was at the end of his tether. Then he looked at me under the gallery, and I daresay, with so few present, he knew me to be a stranger.

Just fixing his eyes on me, as if he knew all my heart, he said, ‘Young man, you look very miserable.’ Well, I did; but I had not been accustomed to have remarks made from the pulpit on my personal appearance before.

However, it was a good blow, struck right home. He continued, ‘and you always will be miserable—miserable in life, and miserable in death,—if you don’t obey my text; but if you obey now, this moment, you will be saved.’

Then, lifting up his hands, he shouted, as only a Primitive Methodist could do, ‘Young man, look to Jesus Christ. Look! Look! Look! You have nothin’ to do but to look and live.’

I saw at once the way of salvation. I know not what else he said,—I did not take much notice of it,—I was so possessed with that one thought.

Like as when the brazen serpent was lifted up, the people only looked and were healed, so it was with me. I had been waiting to do fifty things, but when I heard that word, ‘Look!’ what a charming word it seemed to me!

Oh! I looked until I could almost have looked my eyes away. There and then the cloud was gone, the darkness had rolled away, and that moment I saw the sun; and I could have risen that instant, and sung with the most enthusiastic of them, of the precious blood of Christ, and the simple faith which looks alone to Him.

Oh, that somebody had told me this before, ‘Trust Christ, and you shall be saved.’ Yet it was, no doubt, all wisely ordered, and now I can say,—

‘E’er since by faith I saw the stream
Thy flowing wounds supply,
Redeeming love has been my theme,
And shall be till I die.’

I do from my soul confess that I never was satisfied till I came to Christ; when I was yet a child, I had far more wretchedness than ever I have now; I will even add, more weariness, more care, more heart-ache, than I know at this day.

I may be singular in this confession, but I make it, and know it to be the truth. Since that dear hour when my soul cast itself on Jesus, I have found solid joy and peace; but before that, all those supposed gaieties of early youth, all the imagined ease and joy of boyhood, were but vanity and vexation of spirit to me.

That happy day, when I found the Saviour, and learned to cling to His dear feet, was a day never to be forgotten by me. An obscure child, unknown, unheard of, I listened to the Word of God; and that precious text led me to the cross of Christ.

I can testify that the joy of that day was utterly indescribable. I could have leaped, I could have danced; there was no expression, however fanatical, which would have been out of keeping with the joy of my spirit at that hour.

Many days of Christian experience have passed since then, but there has never been one which has had the full exhilaration, the sparkling delight which that first day had. I thought I could have sprung from the seat on which I sat, and have called out with the wildest of those Methodist brethren who were present, ‘I am forgiven! I am forgiven! A monument of grace! A sinner saved by blood!’

My spirit saw its chains broken to pieces, I felt that I was an emancipated soul, an heir of Heaven, a forgiven one, accepted in Christ Jesus, plucked out of the miry clay and out of the horrible pit, with my feet set upon a rock, and my goings established.

I thought I could dance all the way home. I could understand what John Bunyan meant, when he declared he wanted to tell the crows on the ploughed land all about his conversion. He was too full to hold, he felt he must tell somebody.

It is not everyone who can remember the very day and hour of his deliverance; but it was so with me. The clock of mercy struck in Heaven the hour and moment of my emancipation, for the time had come.

Between half-past ten o’clock, when I entered that chapel, and half-past twelve o’clock, when I was back again at home, what a change had taken place in me! I had passed from darkness into marvellous light, from death to life.

Simply by looking to Jesus, I had been delivered from despair, and I was brought into such a joyous state of mind that, when they saw me at home, they said to me, ‘Something wonderful has happened to you.’

And I was eager to tell them all about it. Oh! there was joy in the household that day, when all heard that the eldest son had found the Saviour, and knew himself to be forgiven,—bliss compared with which all earth’s joys are less than nothing and vanity.

Yes, I had looked to Jesus as I was, and found in Him my Saviour. Thus had the eternal purpose of Jehovah decreed it; and as, the moment before, there was none more wretched than I was, so, within that second, there was none more joyous.

It took no longer time than does the lightning-flash; it was done, and never has it been undone. I looked, and lived, and leaped in joyful liberty as I beheld my sin punished upon the great Substitute, and put away for ever.

I looked unto Him, as He bled upon that tree; His eyes darted a glance of love unutterable into my spirit, and in a moment, I was saved.

Looking unto Him, the bruises that my soul had suffered were healed, the gaping wounds were cured, the broken bones rejoiced, the rags that had covered me were all removed, my spirit was white as the spotless snows of the far-off North; I had melody within my spirit, for I was saved, washed, cleansed, forgiven, through Him that did hang upon the tree.

My Master, I cannot understand how Thou couldst stoop Thine awful head to such a death as the death of the cross,—how Thou couldst take from Thy brow the coronet of stars which from old eternity had shone resplendent there; but how Thou shouldst permit the thorn-crown to gird Thy temples, astonishes me far more.

That Thou shouldst cast away the mantle of Thy glory, the azure of Thine everlasting empire, I cannot comprehend; but how Thou shouldst have become veiled in the ignominious purple for a while, and then be mocked by impious men, who bowed to Thee as a pretended king; and how Thou shouldst be stripped naked to Thy shame, without a single covering, and die a felon’s death;—this is still more incomprehensible.

But the marvel is that Thou shouldst have suffered all this for me! Truly, Thy love to me is wonderful, passing the love of women!

Was ever grief like Thine? Was ever love like Thine, that could open the flood-gates of such grief? Was ever love so mighty as to become the fount from which such an ocean of grief could come rolling down?

There was never anything so true to me as those bleeding hands, and that thorn-crowned head. Home, friends, health, wealth, comforts—all lost their lustre that day when He appeared, just as stars are hidden by the light of the sun.

He was the only Lord and Giver of life’s best bliss, the one well of living water springing up unto everlasting life. As I saw Jesus on His cross before me, and as I mused upon His sufferings and death, methought I saw Him cast a look of love upon me; and then I looked at Him, and cried,—

‘Jesu, lover of my soul,
Let me to Thy bosom fly.’

He said, ‘Come,’ and I flew to Him, and clasped Him; and when He let me go again, I wondered where my burden was. It was gone!

There, in the sepulchre, it lay, and I felt light as air; like a winged sylph, I could fly over mountains of trouble and despair; and oh! what liberty and joy I had!

I could leap with ecstasy, for I had much forgiven, and I was freed from sin. With the spouse in the Canticles, I could say, ‘I found Him.’

I, a lad, found the Lord of glory; I, a slave to sin, found the great Deliverer; I, the child of darkness, found the Light of life.

I, the uttermost of the lost, found my Saviour and my God; I, widowed and desolate, found my Friend, my Beloved, my Husband.

Oh, how I wondered that I should be pardoned! It was not the pardon that I wondered at so much; the wonder was that it should come to me.

I marvelled that He should be able to pardon such sins as mine, such crimes, so numerous and so black; and that, after such an accusing conscience, He should have power to still every wave within my spirit, and make my soul like the surface of a river, undisturbed, quiet, and at ease.

It mattered not to me whether the day itself was gloomy or bright I had found Christ; that was enough for me. He was my Saviour, He was my all; and I can heartily say, that one day of pardoned sin was a sufficient recompense for the whole five years of conviction.

I have to bless God for every terror that ever scared me by night, and for every foreboding that alarmed me by day. It has made me happier ever since.

For now, if there be a trouble weighing upon my soul, I thank God it is not such a burden as that which bowed me to the very earth, and made me creep upon the ground, like a beast, by reason of heavy distress and affliction.

I know I never can again suffer what I have suffered; I never can, except I be sent to hell, know more of agony than I have known; and now, that ease, that joy and peace in believing, that ‘no condemnation’ which belongs to me as a child of God, is made doubly sweet and inexpressibly precious, by the recollection of my past clays of sorrow and grief.

Blessed be Thou, O God, forever, who by those black days, like a dreary winter, hast made these summer days all the fairer and the sweeter! I need not walk through the earth fearful of every shadow, and afraid of every man I meet, for sin is washed away.

My spirit is no more guilty; it is pure, it is holy. The frown of God no longer resteth upon me; but my Father smiles, I see His eyes,—they are glancing love; I hear His voice,—it is full of sweetness.

I am forgiven, I am forgiven, I am forgiven!”

–Charles H. Spurgeon, C.H. Spurgeon’s Autobiography, Compiled from His Diary, Letters, and Records, by His Wife and His Private Secretary, 1834–1854, Vol. 1 (Cincinatti; Chicago; St. Louis: Curts & Jennings, 1898), 1:105–110.

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“Let us pray for our children” by J.C. Ryle

“Let us see, furthermore, in this mighty miracle, a lively emblem of Christ’s power to quicken the dead in sins. In Him is life. He quickeneth whom He will. (John 5:21.)

He can raise to a new life souls that now seem dead in worldliness and sin. He can say to hearts that now appear corrupt and lifeless, ‘Arise to repentance, and live in the service of God.’

Let us never despair of any soul. Let us pray for our children, and faint not. Our young men and our young women may long seem travelling on the way to ruin.

But let us pray on. Who can tell but He that met the funeral at the gates of Nain may yet meet our unconverted children, and say with almighty power, ‘Young man, arise.’

With Christ nothing is impossible.”

–J.C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on Luke (New York: Robert Carter & Brothers, 1879), 1: 211. Ryle is commenting on Luke 7:11-17.

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“The way I finish a sermon” by Charles Spurgeon

“Man! Thou art lost and ruined by the fall, but there is One that is able to save, even to the uttermost, those that come to Him. To come to Christ is to trust Him.

I have preached this Gospel for many years, and I do not think I ever finished a sermon except in one way—by trying to explain what is meant by this simple trust in the Lord Jesus Christ.”

–Charles H. Spurgeon, “Preventing Grace” in The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit Sermons, vol. 51 (London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1905), 105. Spurgeon preached this sermon on 1 Samuel 25:32-33 in 1862.

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