Tuesday, July 25, 2006

The Crowd of Martyrs says look at Jesus the Champion

Hebrews 12v1 tells of a great cloud of witnesses, or a great crowd of martyrs who cheer us on as we run the race.
"As saints of old still line the way,
retelling triumphs of His grace,
We hear their calls and hunger for the day,
when with Christ we stand in glory"
-- Keith Getty & Stuart Townend
They cheer us to look to Jesus, our champion - which is what the next verse tells us to do. I'm preparing to preach on this twice in September to 18 year olds going off to University.... in doing so, I unearthed this by Spurgeon:
Where shall language be found which shall describe his matchless, his unparalleled love towards the children of men. Upon any ordinary subject one may find liberty of speech and fullness of utterance, but this subject lies out of the line of all oratory, and eloquence cannot attain unto it. This is one of the unutterable things—unutterable, because it surpasses thought, and defies the power of words...

...Christian men! If Christ endured all this [detailed in Hebrews 12v2], merely for the joy of saving you, will you be ashamed of bearing anything for Christ? The words are on my lips again this morning,—
“If on my face for thy dear name,
shame and reproach shall be,
I’ll hail reproach, and welcome shame,
my Lord, I’ll die for thee.”
--Thomas Haweis
Oh! I do not wonder that the martyrs died for such a Christ as this! When the love of Christ is shed abroad in our hearts, then we feel that if the stake were present we would stand firmly in the fire to suffer for him who died for us.
CH Spurgeon Sermon 236 on Hebrews 12v2.

The stories of the Hebrew Christians, of Moses and supremely Jesus himself call us, as Luther wrote, to:
"Let goods and kindred go,
this mortal life also;
The body they may kill:
God's truth abideth still,
His kingdom is forever."
Meanwhile Douglas Groothuis has a lot of questions about preachers and preaching.