Dream word – FOOD
1 Corinthians 1:21-24
“For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling block, and unto the Greeks foolishness; But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.” KJV
Of preaching and pulpit monkeys
I am what was once referred to as a “literate.” That is, I am an ordained person not bearing a University degree. I would like a degree, a couple maybe but ah no matter, I must confess, I do love being a “literate”. T’is enough.
You see, I regard myself as someone rooted in literature, in all kinds of words and in “The Word” in particular and I am daft enough to believe, that even in this postmodern age, even in what some have referred to as a visualised post-evangelical age, that the proclamation of the Word of God still stands tallest as the primary means of communicating the Gospel. I believe in the verbal proclamation of the Gospel, one voice to another’s ears; one soul speaking through the connected eyes of another, from his heart to their heart. I believe this is God’s chosen way of communicating the Gospel and though it might be foolishness, it works. The only reason it has not seemingly been working and the main reason we have replaced it most thoroughly with anaemic video clips, cosseted in the pale blanket of wet worship, is that we have hired ourselves a multitude of pulpit monkeys, who, void of any anointing, never the less bear a reputable degree, manage well and communicate inoffensively better. For sure, such monkeys are cute to have around at first, performing great tricks even, but in the end, who wants to listen to a pulpit monkey chattering on about nothing. The soul turns sour and dies under the pathetic ministry of such chattering monkeys. Yes, I wish with all my heart that we had men in our pulpits instead of monkeys for what we have is just not enough.
In his book, Lectures to my Students, when talking about “God’s acres,” those open air arenas of proclamation and the great men of the past who made them their pulpits, Spurgeon makes mention of the Scots divine, Holy George Wishart. It is Wishart’s disciple, John Knox, who tells us that being denied access to most churches, that Wishart preached the length and breadth of Scotland in the open air. Indeed, on one occasion he went to the plague city of Dundee, choosing his platform of proclamation to be the entrance of the east gate, where taking Psalm 107:20 as his text, he preached to the infected outside the city gate and the black death free within. Spurgeon says: “Seldom has a preacher had such an audience and seldom an audience had such a preacher. Old time stood at the preachers side with a scythe, saying with a hoarse voice, ‘work while it is today for at night I will mow thee down.’ There, too, stood grim death hard by the pulpit, with his sharp arrows saying, ‘Do thou shoot God’s arrows and I will shoot mine.’ This is indeed,”says Spurgeon, “a notable instance of preaching out of doors.”You’d better believe it!
Wishart escaped an assassination attempt at Dundee, but his old enemy, Cardinal Beaton, had him handed over to him by the Earl of Bothwell. Wishart was tried as an heretic, convicted and burned at the stake outside the walls of Edinburgh castle. On the morning of his execution the Captain of the castle invited Wishart to breakfast and gave him both food and gunpowder bags to put under his clothing. At the burning, his executioner knelt and begged for Wishart’s forgiveness, which he most readily gave. The fire did indeed eventually explode the gunpowder bags but they didn’t kill him straight away. From his window, Cardinal Beaton watched Wishart’s dying agonies.
Yes, you can buy yourself a pulpit monkey anytime you like. Ah, but men who carry the gunpowder of the Holy Spirit, underneath their anointed and holy garments, men that pack power in their words, and shoot arrows from their mouth, men who stand with time and death by their sides, men who truly believe and practice the foolishness of preaching, my God, men like that are worth their weight in gold! However, they cannot be bought. Think about that.
Some of you tonight are called to set your pulpits in the open air once more. Make sure you’re a literate in the Word, make sure your packed with the gunpowder of the Holy Spirit.
Some of you tonight need to stop monkeying around and repent. Yes, some of you, for goodness sake, need to start being men in your pulpits and not monkeys.
Some of you Church goers tonight need to check your larders and I tell you, if all you have accumulated over the years are bunches of bright yellow bananas, then some of you need to simply stop going to the local zoo, because I tell you, that’s what your local church has turned into.
Listen: “He sent His word and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions.” Psalms 107:20 NKJV
Pray: Oh God that we would have some mighty men to worry us once more! Take us back to Your Word, put Your bow in our mouth and Your fire in our hearts. Pack us O God with the explosive and resurrection power of Jesus Christ the King. Please God, give us words and voices once more, instead of this endless and cheesy, chatter of the pulpit monkeys, in Jesus name we ask it, amen and amen.
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