Practice what you Preach

 

Philippians 3:17 Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us. 18 For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. 19 Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things.

 

A young minister had been preaching in a country village, and the sermon apparently took deep effect on the minds of the hearers in the congregation there was a young man who felt acutely the truth of the solemn words to which the preacher had given utterance. He sought the preacher after the service, and walked home with him. On the road, the minister talked of every subject except the one that had occupied his attention in the pulpit.

 

The poor soul was under great distress, and he asked the minister a question or two, but they were put off very coolly, as if the matter was of no great importance Arriving at the house, several friends were gathered together, and the preacher commenced very freely to crack his jokes, to utter his funny expressions, and to set the company in a roar of laughter. That, perhaps, might not have been so bad, had he not gone even farther, and uttered words which were utterly false, and verged upon the licentious. The young man suddenly rose from the table; and though he had wept under the-sermon, and had been under the deepest apparent conviction he rose up went outside the door, and stamping his foot, said, “Religion is a lie! From this moment I abjure God, I abjure Christ, and if I am damned I will be damned, but I will lay the charge at that man’s door, for he preached just now and made me weep, but now see what he is! He is a liar, and I will never hear him again.”

 

 He carried out his threat; and some time afterwards, as he lay dying, he sent word to the minister that he wanted to see him. The minister had removed to a distant part, but had been brought there by providence, I believe purposely to chasten him for the great sin he had committed. The minister stepped into the room with the Bible in his hand to do as he was accustomed — to read a chapter and to pray with the poor man. Turning his eyes on him, the man said “Sir, I remember hearing you preach once.” “Blessed be God,” said the minister, “I thank God for it,” thinking, no doubt, that he was a convert, and rejoicing over him. “Stop,” said the man, “I do not know that there is much reason for thanking God, at any rate, on my part. Sir, do you remember preaching from such-and-such a text on such-and-such an evening?” “Yes, I do.” “I trembled then, sir, I shook from head to foot; I left with the intention of bending the knee in prayer and seeking God in Christ, but do you remember going to such-and-such a house and what you said there!” “No,” said the minister, “I cannot.” “Well, then, I can tell you, and mark you! through what you said that night my soul is damned, and as true as I am a living man I will meet you at God’s bar and lay it to your charge.” The man then shut his eyes and died. I think you can scarcely imagine what must have been the feeling of that preacher as he retired from the bedside. He must carry with him always that horrid, that terrible incubus, that there was a soul in hell who laid his blood to his charge.

 

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