“For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!” 1 Corinthians 9:16
Suggested Further Reading: Philippians 1:12-18
There was a young woman under great distress of soul; she came to a very pious Christian man, who said “My dear girl, you must go home and pray.” Well I thought within myself, that is not the Bible way at all. It never says, “Go home and pray.” The poor girl went home; she did pray, and she still continued in distress. Then he said, “You must wait, you must read the Scriptures and study them.” That is not the Bible way; that is not exalting Christ. I find a great many preachers are preaching that kind of doctrine. They tell a poor convinced sinner, “You must go home and pray, and read the Scriptures; you must attend the ministry;” and so on. Works, works, works—instead of “By grace are ye saved through faith.” If a penitent should come and ask me, “What must I do to be saved?” I would say, “Christ must save you—believe on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.” I would neither direct to prayer, nor reading of the Scriptures, nor attending God’s house; but simply direct to faith, naked faith in God’s gospel. Not that I despise prayer—that must come after faith. Not that I speak a word against the searching of the Scriptures—that is an infallible mark of God’s children. Not that I find fault with attendance on God’s word—God forbid! I love to see people there. But none of these things are the way of salvation. It is nowhere written—“He that attendeth chapel shall be saved;” or, “He that readeth the Bible shall be saved.” Nor do I read—“He that prayeth and is baptised shall be saved;” but, “He that believeth,”—he that has a naked faith in the “Man Christ Jesus,”—in his Godhead, in his manhood, is delivered from sin. To preach that faith alone saves is to preach God’s truth.
For meditation: The good news of the Gospel is not to be confused with our not-so-good advice. To think we are giving good news is not good enough (2 Samuel 4:10).
Sermon no. 34
5 August (1855)