-- Next time your pastor preaches a few minutes longer
than you think he should, open your Bible to Acts 20 and read
about the sermon preached by the Apostle Paul at the seaport town
of Troas. He was still going strong at midnight. That’s
when tragedy struck.
According to Luke’s narrative, the meeting was in a third
story room, lighted by burning lamps (which certainly gave some
illumination, but they also burned the oxygen from the air). A
poor fellow named Eutychus was sitting on a sill by an open window
when he fell asleep and slipped backward to his death three stories
Paul rushed down to him, prayed a prayer of faith, and life came
back into this kid -- whereupon, Paul went back to preaching and
continued until dawn. Now, friend, THAT is a long sermon.
Strange, isn’t it, how we regard the length of time in
church? Now if we go to a baseball game and it goes extra innings,
we are thrilled! Or if a football or basketball game goes into
overtime, well, we have just hit the jackpot, haven’t we?
But let a church service get a little long and we get fidgety.
No, preachers should not abuse the privileges they have in declaring
the Gospel. Many of us are finished long before we stop speaking,
if you get my drift. But on the other hand, if God’s Spirit
is at work, be patient.
And, for goodness sake, don’t get up and leave during the
altar call. How people can walk out of church when people are
coming to the altar is just beyond me, but they do. I often wonder
if they would leave just as the ballgame goes into overtime.
Used with permission by author, Dan Betzer. Previously published on ByLine OnLine, copyright © 2005 Media Ministries of the Assemblies of God.
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