If this is not the best, clearest, most passionate, most convicting gospel sermon I’ve ever heard….it’s close. It was preached by Paul Washer, who is the head of Heart Cry Missions, in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. Washer preached this message at the 2002 Alabama Southern Baptist - Youth Evangelism Conference. You’ll hear him mention Southern Baptists in the sermon, and he doesn’t always speak favorably of their evangelism techniques….and he’s RIGHT ON about what he says.
I’ve always wondered what it would have been like to hear George Whitefield, or Charles Spurgeon, or Robert Murray McCheyne preach. I suspect it would be very close to what this sermon sounds like. Many today don’t know who Whitefield is, but in Colonial America, he was perhaps the most famous name on the continent. EVERYONE knew George Whitefield. He was an English evangelist who preached the gospel with power in America. Benjamin Franklin adored him…though he never became a Christian. Franklin was once asked why he loved hearing Whitefield preach since he didn’t believe the message. Franklin reportedly said, “I may not believe what Whitefield is preaching…but WHITEFIELD believes it…and it’s exciting to hear.”
When you read some of the accounts of Whitefield’s revivals, it’s fascinating. Farmers would get word that Whitefield would be preaching in town in 3 hours…and they would leave their plows in the field and RUN to hear him preach. In the days before media, they would announce the planned sermon by word of mouth, and have THOUSANDS of people show up…..to hear a sermon.
Spurgeon took London by storm in the mid 1800’s. He became Pastor of the New Park Street Church at the age of 19. And within weeks the church went from 200 to THOUSANDS. People would line up hours in advance so they could get a seat…to hear a sermon. By the time he was 21, Spurgeon was the most well known Preacher in the world. The press hated him and frequently ridiculed him. But God blessed his preaching and multitudes were saved.
McCheyne pastored in Scotland in the early 1800’s. His humility and Christ-likeness, coupled with his zeal for the gospel, literally changed the Nation. When he preached….people wept. The Holy Spirit was thick. And lives were changed. McCheyne died at the age of 29……..and all of Scotland mourned.
Martyn Lloyd Jones was the same type of Preacher. He left a successful medical career as a Doctor to become a Pastor, and the Holy Spirit used him mightily. Theologian J.I. Packer described a time when, as a college student, he heard Lloyd-Jones preach. He said it was like being zapped into “spiritual shock.” He had never heard such preaching. Sadly, most Americans today haven’t either.
The common thread between all of these men is very interesting. They all preached about God’s Holiness, God’s Wrath, God’s Grace, and God’s Sovereignty….even over man’s salvation. Rather than preaching the modern day “gospel” of “repeat this prayer after me…” They preached the BIBLICAL gospel of Repentance and Faith in Christ. What we must understand is that it wasn’t the men who were great….it was the GOSPEL they preached, and the Holy Spirit’s work through that preaching. The problem today is that few….painfully few men are willing to proclaim this message. Pastors today are taught to tickle ears and be cute. They’re taught to try zillions of “programs” to attract people. Sadly, many American Pastors have lost faith in the Gospel and the Holy Spirit’s ability to build a church.
Paul Washer’s sermon addresses some of these things. As you listen, you’ll probably see why I liked the message. He says some of the same things I frequently say in sermons….he just says it much better than I ever could. Now for a little bit about the sermon......
This message was preached in Montgomery, Alabama to a group of 5,000 teenagers in 2002. It’s a message that all Americans, both young and old, desperately need to hear. The sermon is about an hour long, but is very powerful. About ten minutes into the message, the mood of the room dramatically changes. The crowd begins to applaud something Washer says…and his response SHOCKS them all. I won’t tell you what happens, you’ll have to listen. But from that point on, you could hear the proverbial “pin drop” in the room. I strongly encourage you to listen to the message. The link below will take you to a website where you can listen over the computer, download to an ipod, or even watch video over the computer, if your computer is fast enough to swing it. If you’re too technologically challenged to do any of that, let me know and I’ll burn a CD of it and send it to you. The world needs to hear more sermons like this one. Pray for the Lord to raise up more preachers like Paul Washer.
Here's the link: