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God's Word, The
Spirits Sword!
A. B. Earle
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TOPIC and SUBTOPIC: Word Of God, Effective In Spite Of The Messenger.

TITLE: The Spirits Sword

The Word is the Spirits sword, whatever the motive of the preacher.

Some, indeed, preach Christ even of envy and strife, and some of good will. The one, not sincerely; the other, of love. What then? Christ is preached, and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice.

The meaning of this is, whoever carries or preaches the Word of God, carries or handles the sword of the Spirit. And the Spirit always goes with the Word, and more or less gives it power. And this accounts for a fact that otherwise would stagger us, that bad men have preached the gospel from bad motives, and yet men have been soundly converted under their preaching, while the preacher has gone to perdition.

I once read an incident that illustrates this. An avowed infidel, a real scoffer at religion, a native of Sweden, had occasion to go from one port to another in the Baltic Sea. On reaching a certain point, the vessel on which he expected to sail had left, so he took passage on a fishing boat going the same way. These fishermen took him to a small island, which was the headquarters of a company of pirates.

He had told the fishermen, through fear of being murdered, that he was a minister. As they reached the island, it was agreed that he should preach a sermon Sunday. This was a great trial to the infidel, as he knew but little of the Scriptures, and did not believe in their inspiration. But as he had told them he was a minister, he now feared they would kill him if he did not preach. So preach he must, and do the best he could, and appear sincere. He spent a sleepless night. What could he say?

When the hour came for preaching, he found these wicked men assembled. A seat was arranged for him, a table with a Bible on it. He feared death if he refused, but how could he preach when he did not believe the Bible?

They all sat in silence for some time. At length these words came to his mind: Verily there is a reward for the righteous, and verily there is a God that judgeth in the earth. As he delivered these words, other passages came to his mind. He spoke of the rewards of the righteous, the judgments of the wicked; the necessity of repentance, and the great importance of a change of life.

The matchless love of God, although it was spoken by an infidel, through fear of being killed if he did not, had such an effect upon the minds of these wretched men, that they were melted into tears. This melted him so that he became like a little child.

The next day these pirates fitted out a vessel, and carried him to the place he wished to reach.

He did not preach Christ from envy, but from fear. But Christ was preached, and the Holy Spirit used his own sword, and produced this wonderful effect. Not because the preacher was good, or intended to do good. Many an unconverted man has had a good deal of success in the ministry without any good motive in preaching. Success in the ministry does not necessarily prove the minister a Christian man, but that the Word is the Spirits sword.

A. B. Earle, From: Incidents Used In His Meetings, published in 1888.

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