March 16, 2016
II Timothy 2:1-3
(All scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated.)
The Apostle Paul had labored tirelessly to further the good news of his Savior and Lord ever since he met Jesus on the Damascus Road (see Acts 9:1-6). Now, at the end of his life, Paul writes a final letter to his spiritual son Timothy, encouraging the young pastor of the Church of Ephesus to remain true to God, to fight the good fight of faith, and to pass that faith on to others. In II Timothy 2:1 through 3, the apostle gives the following practical advice to his protege:
You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And
the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit
these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. You therefore
endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.
I have been researching something I recently heard in a sermon – a fascinating string of eight Christians whose faithfulness influenced others, and who in turn touched the lives of millions! Much of the following information is from a book entitled, A Nobody Named Kimball by C. Sumner Wemp; and a number of websites brought up from Google searches on the names of the following people in this featured Spiritual Dominoes string.
• Edward D. Kimball – In 1855 (six years before the Civil War began), a humble Sunday school teacher in Boston obeyed God’s leading to stop in at a shoe store to see an 18-year-old boy who was a clerk there. The lad didn’t know Christ and had little interest in spiritual matters. But he did attend Edward D. Kimball’s class on Sunday mornings – encouraged to go by his uncle. Kimball told the young man he wanted to talk to him, so they went into the stockroom where the Sunday school teacher led his student to Christ. That moment changed the life of Dwight Lyman Moody!
• Dwight L. Moody – Moody went on to become a famous and effective evangelist during the last half of the nineteenth century. And it is estimated that he preached the gospel to over 100 million people over a forty year ministry of evangelism, and a million or more were converted to Christ!
He also established what would later become Northfield Mount Hermon School in Massachusetts, and Moody Memorial Church, Moody Bible Institute, and Moody Press in Chicago.
• F. B. Meyer – While ministering in the British Isles in the early 1870’s, Moody met Frederic Brotherton Meyer, a young Baptist minister who pastored in York. Meyer’s congregation wanted Mr. Moody to preach in their church, so Meyer reluctantly agreed. The young English minister rarely mentioned Jesus in his sermons and teaching, but Moody’s preaching was all about the Savior. He also looked down on the evangelist because, while he had his doctorate, Moody only had a fifth grade education, was uncouth, and dressed a bit shabbily. But the rough evangelist got results – hundreds of lives changed for Jesus – while the Reverend Doctor Meyer saw little happen of spiritual import. Eventually the rough and tumble evangelist won over the refined minister. And for many years thereafter F. B. Meyer preached powerfully in evangelical churches in England where he was pastor. His preaching and writing (over 75 books) influenced many as he crusaded against immorality, especially prostitution and drunkenness.
• J. Wilber Chapman – Chapman was first introduced to Christ as his Savior at age 17 by his Sunday school teacher, Mrs, Binkley. He later wrote, “I do not know if this was the day of my conversion, but I do know it was the day of my acknowledgment of Christ.” While preparing for the ministry at Wake Forest College, he attended an 1878 Moody crusade in Chicago. Being unsure of his salvation, he responded to the evangelist’s invitation. Moody dealt with Chapman personally, and using John 5:24, the great man gave Chapman the assurance of his salvation he desperately needed. What is written in John 5:24? These words from the lips of Jesus Himself: “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.”
By age 27, Chapman had married, and he and his wife Irene had a little girl. A month later the young wife and mother died. Two years after that, in the summer of 1888, he heard F. B. Meyer speak at a Northfield, Massachusetts conference. Said Meyer, “If you are not willing to give up everything for Christ, are you willing to be made willing?” “That remark changed my whole ministry; it seemed like a new star in the sky of my life,” Chapman later wrote. He went on to pastor Bethany Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia – a large church that boasted the largest Sunday school in the world. Two years later, in 1892, he submitted his resignation to become a full-time evangelist. He became a close friend and associate of Dwight Moody, who called J. Wilbur Chapman the “greatest evangelist in the country.”
So far we have seen four successive Spiritual Dominoes lined up to influence the next one in line. We have four more to cover, and we will continue in the next blog on Friday.