Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage -- with great patience and careful instruction. 2 Timothy 4:2
As a preacher, I regularly enjoy reading the messages of some of the great sermonizers of the past.
The messages of Dwight L. Moody are high on my list of solid sermons. Even so, Moody, himself, admits he was far from perfect.
Perhaps the greatest mistake he made in a message was on October 8, 1871. That night he had a tremendous audience and he preached on "What will you do then with Jesus who is called the Christ?"
Moody concluded his sermon with the words: "Now I give you a week to think that over. And when we come together again, you will have opportunity to respond." The sermon ended and the soloist began to sing. The words were drowned out by the sound of fire bells.
That night was the beginning of the Chicago fire, which killed hundreds and left thousands without a home.
In reflection, Moody remarked that he would give his right arm before he would ever give an audience a week to think over the Gospel's message.
All of this verifies the words of St. Paul who told us to be prepared to preach the Word. Sharing the Savior's story of salvation is not something that should be confined to Sunday mornings.
Telling the lost of the forgiveness and redemption which has been won for all through Jesus' perfect life, His innocent suffering and death, and His glorious resurrection, is something that needs to go on 24/7.
Understand, St. Paul is not telling us we need to preach a message with great oratorical skills, as did Dwight Moody. Our lives, lived in thanks to the Christ are a sermon ... a sermon that the Holy Spirit can use to lead people to the Word.
So, today, let's do some serious preachin' by solid Christian witnessin'.
From a devotion originally written for "By the Way"
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, we will never know when our last day or the last day of those around us might come. While the Holy Spirit alone calls people to faith, may He use us as people who verify the truth of Scripture and the greatness of Jesus' sacrifice. In the Savior's Name I ask it. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries
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