”Lord, have I backslid?” — John Wesley
The great preacher John Wesley was riding along on his horse one day when he suddenly realized that three days had passed, and he had not been persecuted. Not a single brick nor tomato had been hurled his way.
Curiously, he stepped down from his horse and prayed, “Lord could it be that I am backslidden or I have sinned?” As he knelt to seek the Lord, a farmer who disliked him happened to be hiding in some brush. When he saw Wesley kneeling in prayer, he picked up a brick and threw it at him, barely missing. When Wesley saw the brick fly by, he threw his hands in the air and said, “Thank you, Lord! I know I still have Your presence.”
The preachers of old expected persecution far more than praise. They armed themselves with the knowledge that preaching the truth came with a price tag. Unwilling to cater to men who walked after the flesh, they opposed sin from the pulpit in a most vehement manner. The messages they proclaimed would rend the heart of the strongest of sinners.
What has happened to that kind of passion over the years? Where is a “Thus saith the Lord” that makes sinners call out, “what must I do to be saved?” The hour in which we live demands the preacher’s undivided attention. He is the spokesman to bring souls to Christ.
He can no longer get by with a feel-good sermonette if he is to be true to God. He must come forth from the prayer closet, drenched in God’s supernatural anointing, and be prepared to suffer for the truth that is burning in his heart.
If we are to be relevant, we must preach the gospel as it is written in scripture. “Cry aloud, spare not lift up your voice like a trumpet and show my people their transgressions” is the word of the Lord to those who proclaim the gospel. If we are mocked and persecuted, we should count it all joy because we’re in good company.
Christ suffered and anyone who has ever been true to the gospel will also.
“Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.” 2 Timothy 3:12-13
Sue West is available to speak at churches and home Bible Study groups. Contact her at email@example.com