A Sermon Outline
by J. Bunyan McCure
March 1, 1863
I preached my twenty-third anniversary sermons from Rom. 15. 30, morning and evening, and was very much favoured. The Lord blessed the sermons to many of His dear people. I have been requested to publish them, but that I cannot do. I will give the divisions of the subject; more I cannot do now.
“Now I beseech you, brethren, for the Lord Jesus Christ’s sake, and for the love of the Spirit, that ye strive together with me in your prayers to God for me.”
I. The Apostle’s Solicitude.
1. He calls them brethren from the regeneration of God the Holy Ghost, the outward and visible fruits of which declared them to be brethren Â— “By their fruits ye shall know them.”
2. He beseeches them to be united Â— to strive together to have peace among themselves. In order to have this peace, (a) You must speak well of all your brethren: “Speak evil of no man.” (b) Avoid all secret whispering and backbitings. “A froward man soweth strife, and a whisperer separateth chief friends.” (c) All backbiting must be discountenanced. ” The north wind driveth away rain, so doth an angry countenance a backbiting tongue.” (d) If your brother has offended you, “Tell him of his faults between him and thee alone.” (e) Never receive or believe a report against a brother until you know it to be true. I beseech you, brethren, for these things strive together.
3. To be united with himself; strive together with me, that I may build up the Church of Christ. I showed what it was not to strive together with one another, and with the Lord’s servant, by the following:Â—
II. How to Break a Church down.
To do this effectually, you must discourage the pastor, discourage your fellow-members, and destroy the confidence of the community.
1. To discourage the pastor, (a) Absent yourself from one service every Sabbath, or miss at least one in three; if he is not very strong, once in four times may answer, (b) Neglect the prayer meetings, (c) Criticize your minister freely Â— pray for him little or
not at all. (d) Give yourself no concern whether his stipend is paid or not. (e) Never allow him to think that his comfort, or that of his family, is a matter of any importance in your eyes.
2. To discourage your fellow-members, (a) Observe the directions given above, (b) Complain about everything they do and don’t do. (c) Contrive to make yourself the head of a clique, and by their assistance and your own industry keep the Church in hot water generally, (d) While doing this, lose no opportunity to complain of the bad treatment you are receiving, (e) Be as much like Diotrephes, and as little like Paul as you can. (f) Discard charity and candour, take distrust to your bosom, and make scheming your speciality.
3. To destroy the confidence of the community, (a) Observe the foregoing directions, (b) Tell the people that you are in the Church by force of circumstances, but have no respect for the way in which business is conducted, (c) Publish it on all occasions that you have no confidence in the concern; predict that it must fail, go down, never can succeed, and then move off.
By observing these directions faithfully, you may have the satisfaction, if the Church is not unusually vigorous, of witnessing the fulfilment of your predictions.
III. The Apostle’s Argument.
And in the last place, the argument that he employed why the brethren should strive together with one another, and with himself, and with God for him. (a) For the Lord Jesus Christ’s sake. (b) For the love of the Spirit, which love is seen in His office, character, and work; and making the Gospel preached, power and life Â— the power and efficacy of the Gospel preached is alone from the Holy Ghost. For neither is he that planteth anything, neither he that watereth, but God that giveth the increase. Ministers are nothing to the accomplishment of the conversion of the soul to God without the Holy Ghost. Therefore, for the love of the Spirit, strive together with me then you will not discourage the Lord’s servants who ought to be “esteemed very highly in love for their work’s sake.” Neither will you discourage your brethren, who are adopted by the same Father, related to the same elder Brother, and born again by the same Spirit, and the confidence of those that are without you will not destroy: but you will then prove to them that there is a truth and reality in your profession, and in the religion of Jesus. That it may be so with us Â— “Now I beseech you, brethren, for the Lord Jesus Christ’s sake, and
for the love of the Spirit, that ye strive together with me in your prayers to God for me.”
Extracted from “Life in England and Australia.”