"Nay, though an angel should come and appear before mine eyes from heaven, yet it would not add to my belief; for I have of my Saviour Christ Jesus bond and seal; I have his Word, Spirit, and sacrament; thereon I depend, and desire no new revelations." - Martin Luther
Yesterday I was reading one of Spurgeon's sermons. He was unpacking the need for revival in his day, and his words remain strong, convicting, and needed this this century as well.
Men are the rarest things in all this world; we have not many left now. We have no men in government hardly, to conduct our politics, and scarcely any men in religion. We have the things that perform their duties, as they are called; we have the good, and, perhaps, the honest things, who in the regular routine go on like pack-horses with their bells, for ever in the old style; but men who dare to be singular, because to be singular is generally to be right in a wicked world, are not very many in this age.
Your forefathers were oaken men; ye are willow men. Our people, what are they many of them? Strong in doctrine when they are with strong doctrine men; but they waver when they get with others, and they change as often as they change their company; they are sometimes one thing, and sometimes another. They are not the men to go to the stake and die; they are not the men that know how to die daily, and so are ready for death when it comes.
O! that God would give us life. The church wants fresh revivals... Let us ask God for it; let us plead with him for it. Perhaps he has the man, or the men, somewhere, who will shake the world yet; perhaps even now he is about to pour forth a mighty influence upon men, which shall make the church as wonderful in this age, as it ever was in any age that has passed. God grant it, for Christ's sake! Amen.
Charles Spurgeon, Spiritual Revival, The Want of the Church
I believe God does have the men who will shake the world again. I have been praying for such revival for two decades. Lord, hear our prayer!
As a preacher, I think a lot about relevance. That is, why should anyone listen to what I have to say? Why should anybody care? Relevance is an ambiguous word. It could mean more than one thing. It might mean that a sermon is relevant if it feels to the listeners that it will make a significant difference in their lives. Or it might mean that a sermon is relevant if it will make a significant difference in their lives whether they feel it or not. That second kind of relevance is what guides my sermons. In other words, I want to say things that are really significant for your life whether you know they are or not. My way of doing that is to stay as close as I can to what God says is important in his word, not what we think is important apart God’s word. John Piper, What Man Does in the New Birth