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Christian Living

Spiritual Life

Long Sermons

CBN.com -- 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 below.

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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