Charles Spurgeon once said that at the end of whatever subject he was going to preach on that weekend, he would always “plow a trough back to the gospel.”
What I don’t think he meant:
- At the end of every sermon he walked his people through the bridge illustration
- At the end of every sermon he closed by stating “With every head bowed and every eye closed.”
- At the end of every sermon he shared the gospel, just so he would have it in there somewhere. Almost like “icing on the cake.”
What I do think he meant: Whatever the subject he was preaching, the gospel was and is the only power that can sustain you to accomplish whatever it is you’re trying to do. It’s not in your own ability to do better and try harder, but a greater understanding of the gospel. The gospel is the only thing that promotes true and authentic transformation.
Want your students to not have pre-marital sex? A greater affection for the gospel as being all you need for satisfaction and joy is what spurs you to flee from temporary satisfaction. (Expulsive power of a new affection – Chalmers) A true love waits ceremony can’t be the end all be all. It’s a great tool, but it won’t suffice. The pursuit of purity is an overflow of the greatness of the gospel within the heart.
Want your students to stop treating one another like outcasts? A greater sense of awe and wonder that we were all outcasts but Jesus came to our rescue is what motivates us to be kind, gracious, and loving to others. Just as Christ was to me, so I will now be to others. Writing nice things about one another on sheets of paper taped to our backs at the end of a retreat are great! I encourage you to do that with your students if it’s your cup of tea. But when things start to get messy between two students 3 months from now, you can’t point back to that piece of paper…you should always point back to the cross.