‘When he giveth quietness, who then can make trouble? and when he hideth his
face, who then can behold him? whether it be done against a nation, or against
a man only.’ Job 34:29
Suggested Further Reading: 2 Corinthians 10:1–5
If some of us were fallen asleep, and the faithful ones buried—if the Spirit
of God were gone, you would say, ‘Well, we are still a large and influential
congregation; we can afford to get a talented minister, money will do
anything;’ and you would get the man of talents, and many other pretty things
which we now count it our joy to do without. Then, if such were the case, all
these vain attempts at grandeur would be unsuccessful, and this church would
ere long become a scorn and a hissing, or else a mere log upon the water. Then
it would be said, ‘We must change the management,’ and there would be this
change and that change; but if the Lord were gone, what could you do? By what
means could you ever make this church to revive again, or any other church?
Alas! for the carnal, spasmodic efforts we have seen made in some churches!
Prayer meetings badly attended, no conversions, but still they have said,
‘Well, it is imperative upon us to keep up a respectable appearance; we must
collect the congregation by our singing, by our organ, or some other outward
attraction:’ and angels might have wept as they saw the folly of men who
sought anything except the Lord, who alone can make a house his temple; who
alone can make a ministry to be a ministration of mercy; without whose
presence the most solemn congregation is but as the herding of men in the
market, and the most melodious songs but as the shoutings of those who make
merry at a marriage. Without the Lord, our solemn days, our new moons, and our
appointed feasts, are an abomination such as his soul hates.
For meditation: Attempts at ‘fearing the Lord’ with a combination of his
ordinances and man-made outward attractions usually lead to the same
conclusion—‘they fear not the Lord’ (2 Kings 17:27–34); yet someone in that
position will still presume upon God’s blessing (Judges 17:5–6,12–13). Is your
church in danger?
Sermon no. 737 / 24 February (1867) – Charles Spurgeon
– Bible Gateway.Com