GALLATIN, Tenn. (BNc) — Hugh Fulford has preached many a sermon in his years of service to the Lord. Today, in his “News & Views” weekly publication, hosted on The Fellowship Room, Hugh shared 12 powerful principles from a sermon preached June 8, to help people “live until they die.” He writes,
Unfortunately, there is a great deal of unhappiness, discontent, and lack of meaning in the lives of many people. People endure an existence, but they are not truly living. There is no joy or real purpose in their life. Christ does not want it to be that way. He came that people “may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly” (John 10:10).
This can change through the “application of true Christianity and the principles taught by Christ,” according to Hugh.
The 12 principles Hugh outlined in his sermon and in today’s article led us to ask him a few questions about them. He was very gracious in his answers and open in the replies.
BNc: Does your introduction in the article reflect that you felt a need to justify this type of sermon?
Hugh: The introduction to the “News & Views” essay was intended only to say that we need sermons that encourage sound, faithful Christian living, including a life of joy and trust, as well as sermons on what we typically call “doctrinal” matters (the church, how to be saved, acceptable worship, etc.). The introduction to the sermon did not provide that explanation but began with the statement of my friend in Dallas who prayed, “Lord, help me to not stop living before I die.” The congregation did not need such an explanation. It knows that I do a lot of “doctrinal” preaching, and I hope you know that I believe in and do a lot of “doctrinal” preaching, but also try to balance that with what I call “practical Christian living.”
BNc: Out of the 12, is there one principle that stands heads above the rest?
Hugh: I believe the last point (“Anchor life to the eternal”) summarizes all that I was attempting to say — that to really live until we die we must build our lives on Christ and the gospel, i. e., the New Testament.
BNc: Can you give some concrete steps on how someone can practice no. 3, “Learn to let go, and let God”?
Hugh: The scripture I gave in support of this was Prov. 3:5-6, which, as I grow older, becomes increasingly significant to me. Insofar as providing concrete steps on how to do this, I would encourage us to study the lives of Noah (who walked with God), Abraham (the friend of God), Job, Paul, et al and to strive to emulate their absolute trust in God. Gal. 2:20 speaks to the need for being crucified to self and fully committed to Christ. Obviously, we all grow in this. I have no specific steps to suggest beyond the obvious: regular (daily) reading and study of the Scriptures, a commitment to do what they say, prayer, regular and faithful worship with the people of God, serving others (being motivated by love, 1 Cor. 16:14) as opportunities present themselves, etc.
BNc: Following no. 7, how do you keep negative moods away? Do you have a special procedure to “practice the happiness habit”?
Hugh: I do a lot of talking to myself and to the Lord to help me eliminate negative thinking and negative actions, and work (sometimes quite hard!) at not allowing negative attitudes to control me. I think I do a fairly good job of being happy, cheerful, and joyful, though I have my moments and days of not being so “upbeat.” Note: “Negative” should be understood in the sense of debilitating, not in the sense that there are no “negatives” associated with the gospel and faithful Christian living.
BNc: Why did you see a need to include no. 11, “Do not fear”? Is this a major challenge for saints?
Hugh: It was a problem with the one-talent man (Matt. 25:24-25) and possibly a challenge for Timothy (2 Tim. 1:7-8). Peter seems to have been plagued with fear on occasion (cf. Gal. 2:11ff). How major a challenge it is for saints today I am not able to say, but from observation of the outward conduct of many Christians I would say that yes, they are sometimes (often?) afraid: afraid to be different (Rom. 12:2), afraid to be bold in resisting wrong, afraid to be bold in standing for the right.
BNc: Does any of the 12 principles present a special challenge to you?
Hugh: Probably #5 more than any other. I sometimes struggle with that.