Spotlight on Spurgeon or Christ?

~ Summary from Spurgeon
Ch 9: The Metropolitan Tabernacle
Ch 10: Training Young Preachers
Ch 11: The Growth of the Spurgeonic Enterprises

When you hear a powerful sermon, are you more in awe of the speaker himself or of the message?

Let God send the fire of His Spirit here, and the minister will be more and more lost in his Master. You will come to think less of the speaker and more of the truth spoken.
~ Charles Spurgeon

spurgeon_preaching

A truly humble speaker will divert attention away from the messenger and towards the message. God gifted Charles Spurgeon with such humility.

As crowds continued gathering to hear him speak about Christ in the mid-1800s, Spurgeon took on much of the responsibility for gathering funds and using his own to pay for a larger facility, the Metropolitan Tabernacle. 

He used the platform to preach about Jesus and to relate His teachings to his own time. He denounced England’s actions in India, calling for national repentance and humiliation. He also denounced slavery in America, declaring that “I would as soon think of receiving a murderer into my church…as a man-stealer.”

This resulted in fewer funds coming in, but no matter. Once the doors were opened at the Metropolitan Tabernacle, more people gathered. There was no official offering taken up during the services, but boxes were placed throughout the building for individual contributions.

From the first sermon preached there, Spurgeon made clear that “the subject of the ministry in this house, as long as this platform shall stand, and as long as this house shall be frequented by worshippers, shall be the person of Jesus Christ.”

Spurgeon soon launched into additional avenues of spreading the gospel. He opened up a ministerial training school, personally financing it himself the first few years and investing himself deeply into the lives of the young men who attended.

It was not Spurgeon’s purpose to produce men who were scholars and little or nothing else, as was the case with many schools. In his college, learning was a means to an end—to enable men to be powerful preachers and fervent soul-winners.

There were no tests, no diplomas, no graduation exercises. But the personal relationship with Spurgeon as well as active involvement with the Metropolitan Tabernacle provided incredible opportunities for the men.

Spurgeon also began a series of Friday afternoon lectures, “Lectures to My Students,” began a monthly magazine, “The Sword and the Trowel,” opened a home for aged women, and an orphanage for poor children.

Through it all, he relied on prayer. He usually opened each year with a Week of Prayer, inviting pastors to confess their failures, praying for their people in general, and making supplication for the unconverted.

But by the time he was 34, his constant pouring out began to take its toll on him. He became afflicted with rheumatic gout, an illness that would plague him the rest of his life.

Both in sick times and in healthy times, Spurgeon’s humility to preach Christ despite all costs to himself is a worthy example we should follow today. The gains always overcome the losses when we keep the spotlight on Christ, not ourselves.

But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ.

Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.

For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ.
Philippians 3:7-8

* * *

Next week:
Chapter 12
: Almshouses and Orphanage
Chapter 13: Sunshine and Shadow

Visit Justin Taylor’s blog for a guest post by Tony Reinke on “Preach Christ or Go Home—And Other Spurgeon Quotes on Christless Preaching

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