In a world where external validation is all we seek, let us remember that the internal validation is worth more. The internal validation of Christ in you should supersede the external validation of the world. Examine yourself then as to whether you are in the faith.
“Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith, prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?” – 2 Corinthians 13:5
Essentially, there’s no doubt alcohol is a protoplasmic poison. A habit-forming drug that shackles millions, lowering in a fearful way the standard of efficiency and enormously reducing the national wealth. Medical scientists would probably assert that alcohol inflicts more wounds to a nation than war, pestilence, and famine combined. It blights her progeny, flooding the land with a multitude of degenerates. Most homes bear witness to the deadly blows that alcoholism has continued to throw at families. The affliction of the physical life is tragic but it is immeasurable to the blight of the spiritual nature since it is the spiritual nature that makes man in the image of God and gives dignity to his life above that of the animals.
It is in the lines of these vexing effects that I walk myself into the heart of some old sanctuary. Pulpits that once burned with messages of grace have today become the places of merchandise and display of talents. Men and women sipping off the gallons as did our fathers; innocently ignorant. For ages men have been worshiping, not God, but a hideous serpent whose mammoth proportions have enabled it to swallow relentlessly myriads of varieties who have offered themselves living sacrifices to its insatiable demands.
Edward Bound’s heart-throbbing words find more a fertile ground in our time as it did in his: “The young preacher of our generation has been taught to lay out all his strength on the form, taste, and beauty of his sermon as a mechanical and intellectual product.” Albeit many claim the privilege of first-hand knowledge of the present truth, righteousness, today, is measured on the balance of men’s fondness for quoting the spirit of prophecy as fluency in the narration of stories and humour hold the place of adjudicating spiritual maturity.
The health message is ceasing to be the right hand of God because, anyway, man has received another “light”, maybe better than the former. Constant craving for approval and fitting-in is, undoubtedly sending the children of God into spiritual numbness. Men have unconsciously displayed great ingenuity in making excuses for rejecting the message of God’s love; displaying marvelous skill, not in seeking salvation but in fashioning our reasons for refusing it. We’re agile in avoiding Divine Grace for the search of worldly recognition. We’ve become the generation of vipers of our time; wanting to flee from the wrath to come while lulling our unsanctified lives into fetal security (Matt 3:7).
Knowing surely that the minister’s heart has become the greatest hindrance to his preaching, Bound penned thrilling statements in his book in unparaphrasable words:
“Can ambition, that lusts after praise and place, preach the gospel of Him who made himself of no reputation and took on Him the form of a servant? Can the proud, the vain, the egotistical preach the gospel of him who was meek and lowly; Will the covetous man, who counts salary and money, preach the gospel till he has gleaned his heart and can say in the spirit of Christ and Paul in the words of Wesley: “I count it dung and dross, I trample it under my feet, I (yet not I, but the grace of God in me) esteem it just as the mire of the streets, I desire it not, I seek it not ?”
However, I do not hold any claim to the thought that God’s people should not build their intellectual abilities. Neither am I saying that ministers should never be diligent students. All I am saying is with a cultivated heart and a heart kept with diligence; the minister who has fathomed the depths and intricacies of his heart will accomplish as much as God would have him. The revelation of God to humanity demands not complexity neither does the saving grace of God need not enforcement by human brains. The brilliancy of human thought, the polish and strength of human culture will suffice not its charge. The light of human genius cannot brighten it. This is rightly put in the words of one C. Spurgeon:
“let eloquence be flung to the dogs rather than souls be lost. What we want is to win souls. They are not won by flowery speeches.”
It’s only by the simplicity and the meekness of Christ that the preaching of the gospel will bring forth a divinely abundant harvest. By the humility and the faith of a child’s heart, souls are stirred by the gospel’s piercing sword, throwing them into deep meditation and repentance of their sins.
“Turn Ye unto me,
saith the Lord of Hosts
and I will turn unto you.”
Psalm 8:5; Zechariah 1:3; Matthew 3:7 KJV
Edward M. Bounds, “Power Through Prayer”
The Ohio State University, Temperance & Prohibition