The great preacher Charles Spurgeon once said in his sermon Smoking Flax, “You and I will best put down error by preaching truth. If we preach up Christ, the devil goes down. If a crooked stick is before you, you need not explain how crooked it is: lay a straight one down by the side of it, and the work is well done. Preach the truth, and error will stand abashed in its presence.”
God didn’t call us to critique everyone. God called us to bear good fruit. Jesus tells the religious leaders of his day, “Bear fruit in keeping with repentance” (Matthew 3:8, ESV), and then he tells his disciples “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation” (Mark 16:15), essentially to bear fruit in this practical way.
All kinds of people have become skilled at doing church or reading books or doing praise and worship, but to see a soul converted — that’s another whole thing, isn’t it? How many of you genuinely want to see more souls get saved through your church? You’ve got to get to the place where you won’t accept being unfruitful. No person can make this happen in you. If you’re content just to go to church and live your life, I’m not going to argue with you.
But everyone whom God ever used got to a point of desperation and said, “I’d rather not live, if I can’t see fruit.” No man or woman who was mightily used by God didn’t first come to a crisis and then break through into fruitfulness.
We can all give our opinions on the future of the church or the mark of the beast. We can go off into Christian fantasy and faith talk, into positional theology to the point of no relationships with experience. So who’s going to get the guy smoking weed off of drugs? Who’s going to see Jesus change the immoral person, regardless of whether they’re straight or gay? This is why we still talk about Wesley and D. L. Moody, not because of their interesting theological positions but because they bore fruit.
God has used different kinds of people from all kinds of backgrounds to further his kingdom because they’re obedient to God’s call to bear good fruit. So let’s start truly living out the gospel today.
Jim Cymbala began the Brooklyn Tabernacle with less than twenty members in a small, rundown building in a difficult part of the city. A native of Brooklyn, he is a longtime friend of both David and Gary Wilkerson.