Two For The Price Of One

As I continue my read through “the Soul Winner” by Charles Spurgeon I found this ‘two for the price of one’ nugget in the middle of chapter four. This has been a most helpful chapter for me and one that I highly recommend to all my preaching friends. But don’t miss the other value here.

While I didn’t like everything that Spurgeon had to say about “the kind of sermons that are most likely to convert people” I have taken to heart what I think he was saying with interest.

He broke this chapter down into

  • Firstly, they are those sermons which are distinctly aimed at the conversion of the hearers.
  • Secondly, if the people are to be saved, it must be by sermons that interest them.
  • The third thing in a sermon that is likely to win souls to Christ is, it must be instructive.
  • Fourthly, the people must be impressed by our sermons, if they are to be converted.
  • Fifthly, I think that we should try to take out of our sermons everything that is likely to divert the hearer’s mind from the object we have in view.
  • Sixthly, I believe that those sermons which are fullest of Christ are the most likely to be blessed to the conversion of the hearers.
  • Seventhly, brethren, it is my firm conviction that those sermons are most likely to convert men that really appeal to their hearts, not those that are fired over their heads, or that are aimed only at their intellects.
  • Lastly, brethren, I think that those sermons which have been prayed over are the most likely to convert people.

Now, as you read over the matters of interest in this chapter, make sure to discipline yourself to not interpret what Spurgeon had to say on each of these topics for soul winning sermons. He was not suggesting a formula. He was not suggesting seeker sensitivity. He  was not suggesting emotionalism. Read the chapter in it’s fullness and be encouraged and challenged.

Now, back to the “two for the price of one” thought or the “one-two punch.” On the fifth matter of interest, and one that was most important for me to read because of how easy it is for me to distract myself and the hearer, there was this additional jewel of insight. Like most of the book has been.

“The best style of preaching in the world, like the best style of dressing, is that which nobody notices.”

That was a stunning way to start this section out, but the illustration of what he meant by this was priceless. He went on to talk about a conversation of a husband and wife. The wife was unable to attend a particular event that the husband attended, upon his returning home the wife asked about how another woman was dressed. His answer was, “I did not notice at all how she was dressed; anyway, there was nothing particularly noticeable in her dress, she was herself the object of interest.”

Then Spurgeon went on to bring this conversation between husband and wife back to the topic of interest, the way the sermon should work…

“That is the way that a true lady is dressed, so that we notice her, and not her garments; she is so well dressed that we do not know how she is dressed, and that is the best way of dressing a sermon. Let it never be said of you, as it is sometimes said of certain popular preachers, “He did the thing so majestically, he spoke with such lofty diction, etc., etc., etc.” (the Soul Winner; p.51)

This was a grand way of stating this. It is true, isn’t it? Women, do you not know this about the way you dress? Preacher, do you not know this about the way you preach?

Women, don’t you know that your skin tight clothing may likely distract most men in your presence from you to your body? Preacher, don’t you know that your clever joke you heard at the last conference you attended that everyone laughed at may likely distract most hearers from your sermon this coming Lord’s Day?

Women, don’t you know that your low cut blouse may likely distract most men in your presence from seeing the glory of God and only the glory of you? Preacher, don’t you know that your fancy-talking ways may likely distract most hearers from hearing of the glory of God and be impressed with the glory of your intellect?

Women, don’t you know that your jeans with the strategically ripped holes may likely distract most men in your presence, period? Preacher, don’t you know that your trendy use of technology may likely prove to the hearers that you only know how to use technology, period?

Well, there you have it. The best “two for the price of one” deal I have found today. Women, be careful how you cloth your body. Or do you not know this? Or do you know this and you do it anyway? Preacher [and by preacher, I mean me] be careful how you clothe your sermon this week.


1 Comment

  • Bennett Sanderson

    March 12, 2014 at 11:26 AM Reply

    I was a little shocked at the statement, “…the people must be impressed by our sermons…” Then I went and read the chapter. He spends most of the section talking about the importance of making a sermon that you yourself are moved by.

    “If you are not impressed with it yourself, you cannot expect to impress others with it; so mind that your sermons always have something in them, which shall really impress both yourself and the hearers whom you are addressing.”

    I’ll buy that.

    As for jokes…

    “I would sooner use a little of what some very proper preachers regard as a dreadful thing, that wicked thing called humour,—I would sooner wake the congregation up that way than have it said that I droned away at them until we all went to sleep together.”


    I’ve been digging into the works of George MacDonald, who I believe was a contemporary influence on Spurgeon. I have never read Spurgeon before. Somehow what I’m reading doesn’t match up with the perception I had of him. I guess I was thinking of him as a Victorian era John Piper.

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