Earlier today I posted about how miracles don’t automatically lead to salvation.
On Twitter I later posted a link to an old post of mine in which I argue that The Soulwinner is a book every Christian should read.
I wrote “This book should stop us accepting a form of Christianity where week after week no one gets saved in our churches”
Some saw a disconnect, basically asking how could we expect salvation a when even miracles don’t guarantee those results.
Possibly one of the most important things Spurgeon ever said was in response to this very point. As we move into the weekend every preacher would do well to remind themselves of these words. They have the potential to change your entire approach to the pulpit:
“You must also believe in the power of that message to save people. You may have heard the story of one of our first students, who came to me, and said, ‘I have been preaching now for some months, and I do not think I have had a single conversion.’ I said to him, ‘And do you expect that the Lord is going to bless you and save souls every time you open your mouth?’ ‘No, sir,’ he replied. ‘Well, then,’ I said, ‘that is why you do not get souls saved. If you had believed, the Lord would have given the blessing.’ I had caught him very nicely; but many others would have answered me in just the same way as he did. They tremblingly believe that it is possible, by some strange mysterious method, that once in a hundred sermons God might win a quarter of a soul. They have hardly enough faith to keep them standing upright in their boots; how can they expect God to bless them? I like to go to the pulpit feeling, ‘This is God’s Word that I am going to deliver in His name; it cannot return to Him void; I have asked His blessing upon it, and He is bound to give it, and His purposes will be answered, whether my message is a savour of life unto life, or of death unto death to those who hear it.’”
And so, I agree with Spurgeon. It is the preaching of the gospel, done in the right way and with the right expectation and anointing that has the power to save. There is something wrong if there is no salvation every time the word is preached.
In case you think I am basing this on Spurgeon, here is a key passage to chew on that seem to imply the same thing:
There is clearly a right way and a wrong way to speak on behalf of God. I believe that there are many who preach in churches that have not seen a conversion in years. May these words awaken such a preacher to seek God. There needs to be an urgency in such a case to discover: am I really called to do this? It is in the discontentment with the status quo that change can begin. It is in the hunger that the seeds of satisfaction begins.
Rick Warren says that any church which is content to stay small is telling the world that they don’t care if they go to hell.
It is so sad to me that so many Christians today when they hear of any large church assume that it must be doing something wrong, while others assume it must be doing everything right! We should pay attention to how the Word is preached at churches that reliably see salvation whatever their size and learn from them.
It really isn’t about the size your congregation grows to. The goal is instead the regular, reliable, consistent production of new converts who become new disciples. If you can see the power of the gospel convert more people than you lose to death, desertion, or moving away you will grow!
There is no question that when you preach with passion, boldness, and expectation you will not see everyone saved. In Acts 14, this preaching and the miracles that followed led to a divided city. Some will be led to follow Jesus, however.
What I’m saying is that on that day and in that place the level of expectancy by the pastor and the rest of the church will directly affect the response. That’s quite a responsibility, isn’t it? No wonder Spurgeon urges us to awaken our faith.
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is ethe power of God for salvation to everyone who believes