By the time you read this, we will have just celebrated the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. It is interesting to look back at the corruption that was in the state and the church at that time. Yet, there were many men who stood up for the true gospel and dedicated their lives to take it to the whole world.
This is also a time to be thankful. As we approach the Thanksgiving and Christmas season, I must acknowledge my gratefulness for all my blessings. One of the things I’m grateful for this year are those men who sacrificed and paved the way for us. I am inspired and challenged by their commitment.
I had the privilege to go to Scotland this summer and visit some of the sites of men who were godly examples of the Faith. In preparation for my trip, a friend gave me a book written on the Life and ministry at Robert Murray McCheyne. The title of the book is Awakening. McCheyne did not live long, but his life had a tremendous impact on Scotland in general, and particularly the church he pastored at Saint Peters in Dundee. His most famous quote was “the greatest need of my people is my own holiness.”
As I go back in history I find courage and strength in the sacrifice and the passion these men exhibited. They had a heart for the lost and a heart for the people to whom they were entrusted. I will share with you some of the quotes from the book that particularly caught my attention.
After a trip to Israel, McCheyne’s first sermon back ended with these words:
“Dearly beloved and longed for, I now begin another year of my ministry among you; and I am resolved, if God give me health and strength, and I will not let a man, woman, or child among you alone, until you have at least heard the testimony of God concerning his Son, either to your condemnation or salvation. And I will pray, as I have done before, that if the Lord will indeed give us a great outpouring of the Spirit, He will do it in such a way that it will be evident to the weakest child among you that it is the Lord’s work and not man’s.”
Expressing his concern for his church and the church universal he said, “If the church is to fall under the iron foot of despotism, God grant that it may fall reformed and purified; pure in its doctrine, government, discipline, and worship; scriptural in its spirit; missionary in its aim, and holy in it’s practice; a truly golden candlestick; a pleasant vine”.
Where has all this passion gone? We traveled all over the Highlands of Scotland and saw beautiful and majestic churches with very few people attending. What went wrong? If we don’t fan the flames of the gospel, the fire will flicker – although God will never let it go out.
Let’s reflect on our own resolve. Am I as desirous for an awakening in America? Do my prayers show desperation for God to act on our behalf? Yes, I am convicted; but I am very hopeful. And I am mindful you are in this fight with me.
We sang this past Sunday the song “Bought by the Blood.” The refrain is powerful. “Though His call takes me far away, though it cost my name, comfort and gain, I will serve Him all my days, my life now His, my Lord.” McCheyne put it all this way, “It is our truest happiness to live entirely for the glory of Christ.” May we boldly and gratefully live out this call.