Spurgeon: A Model of Faithful Ministry

Charles Spurgeon stands above most other preachers in church history  and is still remembered today as the Prince of Preachers. Therefore it would be foolish for any minister to ignore the example and model of Spurgeon as a preacher of the gospel. Misconceptions have also surrounded the pulpit ministry of Spurgeon. Some have thought Spurgeon to be a lighthearted huckster in the pulpit, the truth is far from that. Dalimore says of Spurgeon:

In his regular Sunday work, he spent some time before the beginning of the services alone with God, feeling the awesome responsibility of preaching the gospel to lost mankind and pouring out his soul in prayer. On some occasions he seemed unable to go out and stand before the people, and the deacons found it necessary almost to lift him from his knees as the moment for commencing the service drew near…He preached with confidence, with clear instruction and heart-felt pleading, but as soon as the service was concluded he hastened away to his vestry, there to groan out before God his sense of failure (Arnold Dalmore, Spurgeon: A New Biography, p. 77)

We ought to emulate Spurgeon in how we view preaching. So often we are tempted in the ministry to be flippant and lighthearted when it ought not be so. Rather then trying to defuse the seriousness of the gospel and all that it entails we should embrace it as Spurgeon did. Our demeanor must reflect the weightiness of the gospel and the great value of the souls of the men and women to whom we are preaching the unsearchable riches of God in the person of Christ. Another area in preaching that we must emulate Spurgeon is in his Christ-centered preaching. It is easy to begin with a text that does not mention Christ by name and to do the same or tack Christ and the gospel on to the end of the message, this should not be so because all Scripture is a testimony to Him. In his work The Soul Winner Spurgeon says:

I believe that those sermons which are fullest of Christ are the most likely to be blessed to the conversion of the hearers. Let your sermons be full of Christ, from beginning to end crammed full of the gospel. As for myself, brethren, I cannot preach anything else but Christ and His cross, for I know nothing else, and long ago, like the apostle Paul, I determined not to know anything else save Jesus Christ and Him crucified. People have often asked me, “What is the secret of your success?” I always answer that I have no other secret but this, that I have preached the gospel,—not about the gospel, but the gospel,—the full, free, glorious gospel of the living Christ who is the incarnation of the good news (Charles Spurgeon, The Soul Winner, p. 106).

There is much ministerial wisdom in what Spurgeon says here about the content of a sermon. For Spurgeon the call to make sermons full of Christ was not rhetoric but the life blood of his ministry. One can read any of his sermons and find it filled with reference to the saving work of Christ. If we are to see spiritual health in our church, and see change wrought by the message then we must imitate Spurgeon’s faithfulness in lifting up and exalting Christ in every sermon.

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