2. He was a bold preacher. Worldly prudence would have constrained him to go softly at Thessalonica, after his experience at Philippi, lest he arouse opposition and meet again with personal violence; but, instead, he says: “We were bold in our God to speak unto you the Gospel of God with much contention.” Personal considerations were all forgotten, or cast to the winds, in his impetuous desire to declare the Gospel and save their souls. He lived in the will of God, and conquered his fears. “The wicked” are fearful, and “flee when no man pursueth; but the righteous are as bold as a lion.”
This boldness is a fruit of righteousness, and is always found in those who are full of the Holy Ghost. They forget themselves, and so lose all fear. This was the secret of the martyrs when burned at the stake or thrown to the wild beasts.
Fear is a fruit of selfishness. Boldness thrives when selfishness is destroyed. God esteems it, commands His people to be courageous, and makes spiritual leaders only of those who possess courage (Joshua i. 9).
Moses feared not the wrath of the king, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, and boldly espoused the cause of his despised and enslaved people.
Joshua was full of courage. Gideon fearlessly attacked one hundred and twenty thousand Midianites, with but three hundred unarmed men.
Jonathan and his armour-bearer charged the Philistine garrison and routed hundreds singlehanded.
David faced the lion and the bear, and inspired all Israel by battling with and killing Goliath.
The prophets were men of the highest courage, who fearlessly rebuked kings, and at the risk of life, and often at the cost of life, denounced popular sins, and called the people back to righteousness and the faithful service of God. These men feared God, and so lost the fear of man. They believed God, and so obeyed Him, and found His favour, and were entrusted with His high missions and everlasting employments.
“Fear thou not, for I am with thee,” saith the Lord; and this Paul believed, and so says, “We were bold in our God.” God was his high tower, his strength and unfailing defence, and so he was not afraid.
His boldness toward man was a fruit of his boldness toward God, and that, in turn, was a fruit of his faith in Jesus as his High Priest, who had been touched with the feeling of his infirmities, and through whom he could “come boldly to the Throne of Grace, and obtain mercy, and find grace to help in every time of need.”
It is the timidity and delicacy with which men attempt God’s work that often accounts for their failure. Let them speak out boldly like men, as ambassadors of Heaven, who are not afraid to represent their King, and they will command attention and respect, and reach the hearts and consciences of men.
I have read that quaint old Bishop Latimer, who was afterwards burned at the stake, “having preached a sermon before King Henry VIII, which greatly displeased the monarch, was ordered to preach again on the next Sunday, and make apology for the offence given. The day came, and with it a crowded assembly anxious to hear the bishop’s apology. Reading his text, he commenced thus: ’Hugh Latimer, dost thou know before whom thou art this day to speak? To the high and mighty monarch, the king’s most excellent majesty, who can take away thy life if thou offendest. Therefore, take heed that thou speakest not a word that may displease. But, then, consider well, Hugh, dost thou not know from whence thou comest? Upon whose message thou art sent? Even by the great and mighty God, who is all-present, and who beholdeth all thy ways, and who is able to cast thy soul into Hell! Therefore, take care that thou deliver thy message faithfully.’”
He then repeated the sermon of the previous Sunday, word for word, but with double its former energy and emphasis. The Court was full of excitement to learn what would be the fate of this plain-dealing and fearless bishop. He was ordered into the king’s presence, who, with a stern voice, asked: “How dared you thus offend me?” “I merely discharged my duty,” was Latimer’s reply. The king arose from his seat, embraced the good man, saying, “Blessed be God I have so honest a servant.”
He was a worthy successor of Nathan, who confronted King David with his sin, and said, “Thou art the man.”
This Divine courage will surely accompany the fiery baptism of the Spirit.
What is it but the indwelling of the Holy Spirit that gives courage to Salvation Army Officers and Soldiers, enabling them to face danger and difficulty and loneliness with joy, and attack sin in its worst forms as fearlessly as David attacked Goliath?
“Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit, saith the Lord.”
“Shall I, for fear of feeble man,
The Spirit’s course in me restrain?
Awed by a mortal’s frown, shall I
Conceal the word of God most high?
Shall I, to soothe the unholy throng,
Soften Thy truth, or smooth my tongue?
“How then before Thee shall I dare
To stand, or how Thine anger bear?
Yea, let men rage; since Thou wilt spread
Thy shadowing wings around my head;
Since in all pain Thy tender love
Will still my sure refreshment prove.”
Characteristics of the Anointed Preacher (Pt. 2)
As I mentioned yesterday, I'm sharing parts of Samuel Logan Brengle's chapter on the Apostle Paul as a preacher in his book, When the Holy Ghost is Come, with the readers of the Desperate Pastor blog. Here's part two, in which he says, speaking of Paul: