Tuesday, April 04, 2006

First sermons ignorant of greatness

One of my very first sermons I ever preached was on the text Ephesians 5:14, "Awake, thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light." I had been asked to preach for Dr. Stuart Olyott, then pastor of reformed Baptist church in Liverpool, England. I look back now and remember just how dreadful the sermon was. But what it lack in exegetical finesse, I tried to make up for in evangelistic zeal.

Today in history (April 4, 1742) is the anniversary of a very famous sermon preached on this very text before the university of Oxford by a young student at Christ-church, Charles Wesley.

Here are some of things Wesley said that day:

  • In what state is thy soul? Was God, while I am yet speaking, to require it of thee, art thou ready to meet death and judgement? Canst thou stand in his sight, who is of "purer eyes than to behold iniquity"? Art thou "meet to be partaker of the inheritance of the saints in light"? Hast thou "fought a good fight, and kept the faith"? Hast thou secured the one thing needful? Hast thou recovered the image of God, even righteousness and true holiness? Hast thou put off the old man, and put on the new? Art thou clothed upon with Christ?
  • "Hast thou received the Holy Ghost?" If thou hast not, thou art not yet a Christian. For a Christian is a man that is "anointed with the Holy Ghost and with power." Thou art not yet made a partaker of pure religion and undefiled. Dost thou know what religion is? --that it is a participation of the divine nature; the life of God in the soul of man; Christ formed in the heart; "Christ in thee, the hope of glory;" happiness and holiness; heaven begun upon earth; "a kingdom of God within thee; not meat and drink," no outward thing; "but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost;" an everlasting kingdom brought into thy soul; a "peace of God that passeth all understanding;" a "joy unspeakable, and full of glory"?"

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