Friday, May 1, 2015

Jesus never sought to amuse

My friend Harry transcribed the following from a recent sermon by Alistair Begg:

And it is by means of this Word being sown says Jesus that the Kingdom of God will come to it's fulfillment. This is an important principle in all of time and in every era. 

In the 19th century in Great Britain in London when Charles Haddon Spurgeon was the foremost preacher of the day he had as a contemporary a man by the name of Archibald G. Brown. Archibald had been first one of his students and then became one of his peers. Brown was a very effective minister and at one point in his ministry began to bemoan what he referred to as quote "the Devil's mission of entertainment." 

And what Brown was referring to was the fact that in his own day in the 19th century many of the churches and many of the ministers of the time appeared to be seeking to put crowds together gathering people in their congregation by means of seeking to entertain them and amuse them. 

And Brown, observing from the Bible that when Jesus made his teaching very clear many people turned away. The searching nature of the teaching of Jesus was such that people said: "Oh, if that's what you mean then I'm really not interested at all." 

And Brown makes the observation, he says, "I do not find that there was any attempt to increase a diminished congregation by resorting to something more pleasant." And he goes on to write as follows: 
I do not hear Jesus saying we must keep up the gatherings anyway. So run after those friends Peter and tell them we will have a different style of service tomorrow, something very short and attractive with little if any preaching. Today was a service for God but tomorrow we will have a pleasant evening for the people. Tell them they will be sure to enjoy it and have a happy hour. Be quick, Peter, we must get the people somehow if not by Gospel then by nonsense.  No this was not how he argued. Gazing in sorrow on those who would not hear the word he simply turned to the twelve and asked, "Will you also go away?"  Jesus pitied sinners, pleaded with them, sighed over them, warned them, and wept over them, but he never sought to amuse them. 
Never sought to amuse them. I fear that too many in our day are interested in attending a place of worship because the invitation that is extended to them is: "I think you will find this highly amusing." Well, if that has been your expectation this morning I hope to disappoint you greatly. Indeed, I hope we already have. 

Now we most notice that the confidence of Heaven is in the Word of God itself. The confidence of Heaven is in the Word and the sower sows the Word.

-- Alistair Begg 

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Begg is quoting from Brown's sermon "The Devil's Mission of Amusement", which can be found here or in PDF from here.  The photo above is from ChurchProduction website. 

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