On the way to church this morning we heard Erwin Lutzer on the radio preaching.
Dr. Lutzer pointed out first that many modern church leaders display their lack of confidence in the Gospel by insisting that they dress it up. People do not want simply the Gospel, they need it packaged in a way that is marketed to the desires they bring with them into the service.
Dr. Lutzer rightly pointed out that the apostle Paul sought to know nothing except Christ crucified and was willing to be seen as foolish by the trendy hipsters in Corinth if only to know, matter-of-factly that it was the Gospel that was preached.
We are converted in no other way. Dr. Lutzer mentioned the conversion of C.H. Spurgeon, who as a 17 year old young man, attending a church service. The attending pastor was unable to attend due to poor weather conditions. A lay person in the congregation preached a message containing only a few Bible verses that he nervously repeated. It was clumsy, unprepared, unpolished, unfashionable, unimpressive, and it grasped the heart of a young 17 year old boy who would become known by many as a giant of Christianity.
(1) My wife and I discussed the beauty of a lay person stepping up to preach in light of the pastor being held up because of weather. We live in a day where church is likely to be cancelled if the pastor can not make it. We also live in a day where most lay folk would not even know one Bible verse on which they could preach. Things worth doing are worth doing poorly if no one more qualified is there to do them. Someone ought to preach. This man recognized this and his courage and humility in leaning on Christ to guide him is refreshing
(2) The Gospel is mighty to save, full of power, and the only means by which men turn from darkness to light. The simplicity of the Gospel is often overlooked in lieu of persuasive speech and the personality of the speakers.
Dr. Lutzer also made an additional point by pointing to a dream a man once reportedly had placed upon him one night while sleeping.
In the dream the man carried a burdensome cross that was heavy and frustrating and hard to bear. He came across a carpenter while travelling and asked him if he could lighten his load. The carpenter acquiesced and sawed off 2-3 feet of the cross. The man was grateful and continued walking with a new sense of vigor and excitement. His cross was lighter and he was excited. He then came to a vast gulf on the path on which he was walking. The only means of crossing the gulf was laying down the cross from his back to use as a bridge . The cross, however, was now 2-3 feet short and could not bridge the gap.
The cross we bear is given to us by God for His purposes and we will fall short every time we attempt to make our cross shorter.
Lastly, he quoted Bonhoeffer in saying (and I paraphrase here because I do not recall the words verbatim) "may they not tremble before us as men, but before the cross."