Meet Geoff Thomas

As I was looking over some old study notes on 1 Timothy 1:12-17 in preparation for a recent teaching opportunity, I re-read a sermon on this Pauline text and benefitted from it greatly. The sermon was by Geoff Thomas, pastor of
Alfred Place Baptist Church in Aberystwyth, Wales.

In introducing this account (one of many - see Acts 9, 22, 26; 1 Cor 15:9-10; Gal 1; Eph 2:8; Phil 3; 1 Tim 1) of Paul's gratitude for his salvation & calling into Gospel ministry, Pastor Thomas reminds us of the awe that we ourselves should never lose:

In all genuine Christianity there is a sense of wonder. That sinning creatures like ourselves should know the Maker of this universe, that we may have a personal relationship with him, and that he does love us with a love that will never let us go - no true Christian can ever get to the stage where he becomes blase about such breathtaking realities. But those people who have lightly professed to have become Christians can just as easily give up their faith. What has cost nothing is worth nothing. How different those who have learned their unworthiness, and have groaned with the deepest conviction, "God be merciful to me the sinner." They will never forget that arms of mercy embraced them.

On into his sermon, when explaining the need to often reflect back on the sinful life from which we've been delivered, Thomas shares this quote from Puritan Thomas Goodwin:

Thomas Goodwin one wrote a letter to his son in which he said, "When I was threatening to become cold in the ministry, and when I felt Sabbath morning coming and my heart was not filled with amazement at the grace of God, or when I was making ready to dispense the Lord's Supper, do you know what I used to do? I used to take a turn up and down among the sins of my past life, and I always came down again with a broken and contrite heart, ready to preach, as it was preached in the beginning, the forgiveness of sins...I do not think I ever went up the pulpit stair that I did not stop for a moment at the foot of it and take a turn up and down among the sins of my past years, I do not think that I ever planned a sermon that I did not take a turn around my study table and look back at the sins of my youth and of all my life down to the present; and many a Sabbath morning, when my soul had been cold and dry, for the lack of prayer during the week, a turn up and down in my past life before I went into the pulpit always broke my hard heart and made me close with the gospel for my own soul before I began to preach."

Great stuff! To read the entire sermon, and to read many of his other sermon manuscripts, click here.

I just sent him a "thank you" email...perhaps he'll visit iamchief & leave a comment???

**UPDATE 2-16-06**
Just received a couple of emails from Pastor Geoff Thomas, thanking me for my interest in his sermons & ministry. I wanted to share a paragraph from one of his emails, where he describes the spiritual condition of Wales. This should make us thankful for being in America, and direct our prayers for revival in Europe.
Geoff wrote (emphasis mine):

I enjoyed what a Protestant Reformed man wrote recently about the hope for the future of the church of Jesus Christ in Wales, that it lies in powerful, sound, biblical, confessional and doctrinal preaching. That is how the Reformation of the sixteenth century came. Only by fiery and faithful preachers instructing the people in truth by way of expository sermons can a new reformation come about. I agree. The need is for congregations of the faithful to be established according to the principles of New Testament church government in the context of word-centred worship. Then churches will arise from the ashes. I agree with all of that but not with the coolness the writer shows to the need of a great awakening. I have thus preached throughout my ministry but my impact on the community has been minimal and there is no fear of God in the land. I said forty years ago that if ten men were converted from the world to Jesus Christ in this town it would make a great impact. I have yet to see that. The coming of the soundest theology must be accompanied by the coming of the convicting life-giving Spirit. When this brother says about a great awakening, “Pinning all their hopes for the future of the church in Wales on revival they are fastening their hopes on a mirage” then he is speaking too severely. He is writing out of the abundance of the North American context into the wilderness of the European situation.


tnfpb said...

i couldn't agree more... i don't have to look far to feel and see the amazing part of grace, a brief reflection on my past and (more than likely) just the past week will humble me quickly. This post ties in to the title of your blog quite nicely, "iamchief".

tnfpb said...

it is nice to see men that stay the course, 40 years for (maybe 10 conversions). Mark Dever wrote something that touches on this topic a few days ago.