Our Scripture verse on preaching is 1 John 1:1-4 which reads: "That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;) That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full."
Our quote on preaching today is from Craig Groeschel. He said, "Be careful not to blame yourself if someone rejects Christ. If you do, you might be tempted to take credit when someone accepts him."
Our first topic is titled "The Call to the Ministry, Part 11" from "Lectures to My Students" by Charles H. Spurgeon.
Certain good men appeal to me who are distinguished by enormous vehemence and zeal, and a conspicuous absence of brains; brethren who would talk for ever and ever upon nothing–who would stamp and thump the Bible, and get nothing out of it all; earnest, awfully earnest, mountains in labor of the most painful kind; but nothing comes of it all, not even the ridiculous mus. There are zealots abroad who are not capable of conceiving or uttering five consecutive thoughts, whose capacity is most narrow and their conceit most broad, and these can hammer, and bawl, and rave, and tear, and rage, but the noise all arises from the hollowness of the drum. I conceive that these brethren will do quite as well without education as with it, and therefore I have usually declined their applications.
Our second topic is titled "The Qualifications of the Preacher, Part 24" from "The Preacher and his Preaching" by Alfred P. Gibbs.
This section is titled: HE MUST BE FIT FOR THE WORK (PART 9)
The servant of the Lord should exercise reasonable precaution as to where he takes his body. It is hardly necessary to say that he should avoid questionable places of amusement, where his presence would bring reproach on the testimony of the Gospel. One sometimes hears a Christian use the expression, “I can take Christ with me everywhere I go.” Such a statement utterly fails to take into account our Lord’s own words, “When He putteth forth His own sheep, He goeth before them, and the sheep follow Him, for they know His voice.” A Christian is not at liberty to take his Lord anywhere he wishes, but he can safely follow Christ everywhere He leads.
Our third topic is titled "Tools of the Trade, Part 8" from "Biblical Preaching" by Haddon W. Robinson.
--- Context, continued
Setting our passage within its wider framework, therefore, simply gives the Bible the same chance we give the author of a novel. We want to fit our paragraph into its wider unit of thought. We do not have to find this framework by ourselves. Introductions to the Old or the New Testament and introductory sections of commentaries usually discuss why a book was written and outline its contents. While commentators sometimes disagree on these matters, we can consider their frameworks as we read through the Scripture for ourselves.
Our Scripture verse on preaching is Mark 1:14-15 which reads: “Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.”
Our quote on preaching today is from Dietrich Bonhoeffer. He said, “So many people come to church with a genuine desire to hear what we have to say, yet they are always going back home with the uncomfortable feeling that we are making it too difficult for them to come to Jesus.”
Our first topic is titled “The Call to the Ministry, Part 10” from “Lectures to My Students” by Charles H. Spurgeon.
Thus much may suffice, but the same subject will be before you if I detail a little of my experience in dealing with aspirants for the ministry. I have constantly to fulfill the duty which fell to the lot of Cromwell’s Triers. I have to form an opinion as to the advisability of aiding certain men in their attempts to become pastors. This is a most responsible duty, and one which requires no ordinary care. Of course, I do not set myself up to judge whether a man shall enter the ministry or not, but my examination merely aims at answering the question whether this institution shall help him, or leave him to his own resources. Certain of our charitable neighbors accuse us of having “a parson manufactory” here, but the charge is not true at all.
Our second topic is titled “The Qualifications of the Preacher, Part 23” from “The Preacher and his Preaching” by Alfred P. Gibbs.
This section is titled: HE MUST BE FIT FOR THE WORK (PART 8)
Each Christian should therefore take care as to what he puts into his body in the way of food. He should avoid what he knows, by experience, to be detrimental to his physical health, or what he realizes unfits him for his most efficient service for the Lord. He should abstain from either overeating or under-eating, and only take the kind and quantity of food necessary to keep him physically at his best for God. Any habit that is harmful to clear thinking or pure living should be shunned. Such habits as the drinking of alcoholic liquors, or smoking, should be avoided like a plague, lest they hinder the effectiveness of the preaching of the Word of God. While it is true that temperance, and not total abstinence, is the teaching of Scripture, yet, for the sake of example, it is far better to leave all questionable things strictly alone.
Our third topic is titled “Tools of the Trade, Part 7” from “Biblical Preaching” by Haddon W. Robinson.
Having selected the passage, we must first examine it in its context. The passage does not exist in isolation. As individual verses rest within a paragraph, the paragraphs are part of a chapter, and the chapters are part of the book. If you were reading any other book, you would not open it to page 50, read a paragraph, and from that, assume that you could speak with some authority about the author’s meaning. The author may be giving you the argument of an opponent, not his own. At the very least you would want to read the whole chapter to discover how this one paragraph fits within the larger section. If you really want to understand your paragraph, you would also ask questions about how the chapter that contains your paragraph fits within the entire book. The old saw still has a sharp edge: “The text without the context is a pretext.”
Our Scripture verse on preaching is 1 Timothy 4:13-14 which reads: “Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery.”
Our quote on preaching today is from Fred Craddock. He said, “Preach like you know they almost didn’t come.”
Our first topic is titled “The Call to the Ministry, Part 9” from “Lectures to My Students” by Charles H. Spurgeon.
At the time of my first delivery of this lecture, I had not read John Newton’s admirable letter to a friend on this subject; it so nearly tallies with my own thoughts, that at the risk of being thought to be a copyist, which I certainly am not in this instance, I will read you the letter:–
“Your case reminds me of my own; my first desires towards the ministry were attended with great uncertainties and difficulties, and the perplexity of my own mind was heightened by the various and opposite judgments of my friends. The advice I have to offer is the result of painful experience and exercise, and for this reason, perhaps, may not be unacceptable to you. I pray our gracious Lord to make it useful.
Our second topic is titled “The Qualifications of the Preacher, Part 22” from “The Preacher and his Preaching” by Alfred P. Gibbs.
This section is titled: HE MUST BE FIT FOR THE WORK (PART 7)
The preacher should be physically fit. Public speaking exacts a tremendous strain on one’s supply of nervous energy. In fact, one hour of preaching is the equivalent of eight hours of physical labor, in terms of the expenditure of nervous energy. The physical is more closely linked to the spiritual than we imagine. The ideal, so far as preaching is concerned, is to have a healthy soul in a healthy body. The apostle John realized this and wrote to his beloved friend, Gaius, “I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.”
Our third topic is titled “Tools of the Trade, Part 6” from “Biblical Preaching” by Haddon W. Robinson.
— Sermon Length
Another factor we must consider in choosing what to preach is time. We must preach our sermons in a limited number of minutes. Few congregations being offered well-prepared and attractively presented biblical truth will sit before their pastor with stopwatches in their hands. Yet, if we’re honest, we will not take time not granted to us. We must tailor our sermons to our time, and the cutting should be done in the study rather than in the pulpit.
Our Scripture verse on preaching is James 3:1 which reads: "My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation."
Our quote on preaching today is from Martin Luther. He said, "To preach Christ is to feed the soul, to justify it, to set it free, and to save it, if it believes the preaching."
Our first topic is titled "The Call to the Ministry, Part 6" from "Lectures to My Students" by Charles H. Spurgeon. He writes:
I have heard of a gentleman who had a most intense desire to preach, and pressed his suit upon his minister, until after a multitude of rebuffs he obtained leave to preach a trial sermon. That opportunity was the end of his importunity, for upon announcing his text he found himself bereft of every idea but one, which he delivered feelingly, and then descended the rostrum. "My brethren," said he, "if any of you think it an easy thing to preach, I advise you to come up here and have all the conceit taken out of you." The trial of your powers will go far to reveal to you your deficiency, if you have not the needed ability. I know of nothing better. We must give ourselves a fair trial in this matter, or we cannot assuredly know whether God has called us or not; and during the probation we must often ask ourselves whether, upon the whole, we can hope to edify others with such discourses.
Our second topic is titled "The Qualifications of the Preacher, Part 19" from "The Preacher and his Preaching" by Alfred P. Gibbs.
This section is titled: HE MUST BE FIT FOR THE WORK (PART 4)
This gift may be lost through neglect. Paul exhorted Timothy, “Neglect not the gift that is within thee.” He wrote concerning another, “Say unto Archippus: Take heed unto the ministry which thou hast received in the Lord, that thou fulfill it” [or fill it full]. It is sadly possible for a Christian, through neglect, not to fulfill the ministry which the Lord has given to him. May the Lord deliver us from an unfulfilled ministry! It is not without significance that the napkin, in which the unfaithful servant wrapped the pound and the talent, was his sweat cloth, which the servants of that time used to tie around their waists so as to be handy as occasion demanded.
Our third topic is titled "Tools of the Trade, Part 3" from "Biblical Preaching" by Haddon W. Robinson. He writes:
--- Thought Units
Often we will work our way chapter by chapter, verse by verse, through different books of the Bible. In making our calendar, therefore, we will read through the books several times and then divide them into portions that we will expound in particular sermons. In doing this we should select the passages based on the natural literary divisions of the material. We will not count out ten or twelve verses to a sermon as though each verse could be handled as a separate thought. Instead, we will search for the biblical writer’s ideas. For example, in the New Testament letters the texts will usually be selected by paragraph divisions, because paragraphs delineate the building blocks of thought. As expositors we will usually choose one or more of these paragraphs to expound, depending on how they relate to one another and thus to one of the author’s major ideas.
Our Scripture verse on preaching is 2 Timothy 2:15 which reads: "Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth."
Our quote on preaching today is from John Hines. He said, "Preaching is effective as long as the preacher expects something to happen-not because of the sermon, not even because of the preacher, but because of God."
In this podcast, we are using as our texts, the following three books: "Lectures to My Students" by Charles H. Spurgeon; "The Preacher and his Preaching" by Alfred P. Gibbs; and "Biblical Preaching" by Haddon W. Robinson.
Our first topic is titled "The Call to the Ministry, Part 5" from "Lectures to My Students" by Charles H. Spurgeon. He writes:
Mark well, that the desire I have spoken of must be thoroughly disinterested. If a man can detect, after the most earnest self-examination, any other motive than the glory of God and the good of souls in his seeking the bishopric, he had better turn aside from it at once; for the Lord will abhor the bringing of buyers and sellers into his temple: the introduction of anything mercenary, even in the smallest degree, will be like the fly in the pot of ointment, and will spoil it all.
Our second topic is titled "The Qualifications of the Preacher, Part 18" from "The Preacher and his Preaching" by Alfred P. Gibbs.
This section is titled: HE MUST BE FIT FOR THE WORK (PART 3)
This gift must be developed by exercise. The gift improves with use and becomes brighter by constant polishing. Just as proficiency in music, or in art, or in any other profession can only be achieved through constant practice, so the gift of preaching and teaching must be developed by constant exercise. We are all inclined to envy the expert pianist, or the gifted preacher, and perhaps little appreciate how much concentrated effort lies behind the finished product. It has been well said that "nine-tenths of inspiration consists of perspiration!"
Our third topic is titled "Tools of the Trade, Part 2" from "Biblical Preaching" by Haddon W. Robinson. He writes:
What, then, are the stages in the preparation of the expository sermon?
Stage 1: Choose the passage to be preached.
An old recipe for a rabbit stew starts out, “First catch the rabbit.” That puts first things first. Without the rabbit there is no dish. The obvious first questions confronting us are: What shall I talk about? From what passage of Scripture should I draw my sermon?
Our Scripture verse on preaching is Exodus 4:10-12 which reads: "And Moses said unto the Lord, O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither heretofore, nor since thou hast spoken unto thy servant: but I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue. And the Lord said unto him, Who hath made man's mouth? or who maketh the dumb, or deaf, or the seeing, or the blind? have not I the Lord? Now therefore go, and I will be with thy mouth, and teach thee what thou shalt say."
Our quote on preaching today is from Richard Wurmbrand. He said, "It was strictly forbidden to preach to other prisoners. It was understood that whoever was caught doing this received a severe beating. A number of us decided to pay the price for the privilege of preaching, so we accepted [the communists'] terms. It was a deal; we preached and they beat us. We were happy preaching. They were happy beating us, so everyone was happy."
Our first topic is titled "The Call to the Ministry, Part 4" from "Lectures to My Students" by Charles H. Spurgeon. He writes:
When I think upon the all but infinite mischief which may result from a mistake as in our vocation for the Christian pastorate, I feel overwhelmed with fear lest any of us should be slack in examining our credentials; and I had rather that we stood too much in doubt, and examined too frequently, than that we should become cumberers of the ground. There are not lacking many exact methods by which a man may test his call to the ministry if he earnestly desires to do so. It is imperative upon him not to enter the ministry until he has made solemn quest and trial of himself as to this point. His own personal salvation being secure, he must investigate as to the further matter of this call to office; the first is vital to himself as a Christian, the second equally vital to him as a pastor. As well be a professor without conversion, as a pastor without calling. In both cases there is a name and nothing more.
Our second topic is titled "The Qualifications of the Preacher, Part 17" from "The Preacher and his Preaching" by Alfred P. Gibbs.
This section is titled: HE MUST BE FIT FOR THE WORK (PART 2)
The preacher must seek, by all the means in his power, to develop this gift. It is not enough for a Christian to possess this gift of public utterance; he must also develop it.
(a) This gift should first be earnestly coveted. The believer is exhorted to “covet earnestly the best gifts." He is told to, “follow after charity [love], and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy." “Prophesy” here has the force of forth-telling, and not of fore-telling. It refers to the ability to set forth the Word of God to the edification of the hearer. A prophet, in this sense, is one who is able to communicate the mind of the Lord to others. Once again Paul enjoins the believer and says, “Wherefore brethren, covet to prophesy." From these Scriptures it is clear that the preacher must, first of all, have a deep and holy desire to be a mouthpiece for the Lord. This desire, implanted by the Lord in the believer, must then be allowed to develop unhindered in the atmosphere of prayer, Bible study, godly living, and active participation in the Lord’s work.
Our third topic is titled "Tools of the Trade, Part 1" from "Biblical Preaching" by Haddon W. Robinson. He writes:
It is difficult to think. It is more difficult to think about thinking. It is most difficult to talk about thinking about thinking. Yet that stands as the basic task of homiletics. Homileticians observe how preachers work and attempt to get inside their heads to discover what goes on there as they prepare to preach. Then they must describe the process clearly enough to make sense to a student. The assignment borders on the impossible.
Whom should homileticians study? Certainly not every preacher. There are duffers in the pulpit as well as on the golf course. To discover how to do something well, we usually study those who are effective in what they do. Yet well-known pulpiteers who write “how I do it” books reveal as many variations in procedure as there are authors. More baffling perhaps are the non-methods supposedly used by some effective preachers. These ministers who “speak from a full heart” or “share” sometimes insist that while they have abandoned the rules, their sermons still hit the target. Such preaching has to be reckoned with. As professional skills go, sermon construction ranks among the most inexact when compared, say, with cooking spaghetti, removing an appendix, or flying an airplane.
Our Scripture verse on preaching is John 21:15-17 which reads: "So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs. He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep. He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep."
Our quote on preaching today is from Martyn Lloyd-Jones. He said, "What is the chief end of preaching? I like to think it is this: It is to give men and women a sense of God and His presence."
Our first topic is titled "The Call to the Ministry, Part 3" from "Lectures to My Students" by Charles H. Spurgeon. He writes:
The Master is not to be denied the choice of the vessels which he uses, he will still say of certain men as he did of Saul of Tarsus, "He is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles." When our Lord ascended on high he gave gifts unto men, and it is noteworthy that these gifts were men set apart for various works: "He gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers"; from which it is evident that certain individuals are, as the result of our Lord's ascension, bestowed upon the churches as pastors; they are given of God, and consequently not self-elevated to their position.
Our second topic is titled "The Qualifications of the Preacher, Part 16" from "The Preacher and his Preaching" by Alfred P. Gibbs.
This section is titled: HE MUST BE FIT FOR THE WORK (PART 1)
When God calls a person to His service He also fits and equips him for it, for “God’s commands are His enablings.” When God wishes one of His creatures to fly, He gives it wings to fit it for the sphere in which it is to live and move and have its being. We shall think of the fitness of the preacher in a four-fold sense: spiritually, physically, mentally and educationally.
Our third topic is titled "What's the Big Idea?, Part 7" from "Biblical Preaching" by Haddon W. Robinson. He writes:
--- Examples of Forming an Idea (Part 2)
Look at how the process of forming an idea works with the poetry in an Old Testament book. The small diary of Habakkuk consists of a series of conversations that the prophet had with God. In the opening chapter Habakkuk is upset with God for not punishing evil in the nation of Judah and in the broader world. We must first state the ideas that make up the argument the prophet had with God.
Our Scripture verse on preaching is 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 which reads: "Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures."
Our quote on preaching today is from Steven J. Lawson. He said, "It matters to God what is preached. And it matters to Him how it is preached. No man is free to preach whatever and however he so chooses.No preacher, regardless of where he serves, is free to reinvent preaching."
Our first topic is titled "The Call to the Ministry, Part 2" from "Lectures to My Students" by Charles H. Spurgeon. He writes:
Varying in its outward form, but to the same purport, was the commission of Ezekiel; it runs thus in his own words: "And he said unto me, Son of man, stand upon thy feet, and I will speak unto thee. And the Spirit entered into me when he spake unto me, and set me upon my feet, that I heard him that spake unto me. And he said unto me, Son of man, I send thee to the children of Israel, to a rebellious nation that hath rebelled against me: they and their fathers have transgressed against me, even unto this very day." "Moreover he said unto me, Son of man, eat that thou findest; eat this roll, and go speak unto the house of Israel. So I opened my mouth, and he caused me to eat that roll. And he said unto me, Son of man, cause thy belly to eat, and fill thy bowels with this roll that I give thee. Then did I eat it; and it was in my mouth as honey for sweetness. And he said unto me, Son of man, go, get thee unto the house of Israel, and speak with my words unto them."
Our second topic is titled "The Qualifications of the Preacher, Part 15" from "The Preacher and his Preaching" by Alfred P. Gibbs.
This section is titled: HE MUST BE CLEAN IN LIFE (PART 4)
--- The peril of prominence
While discussing the subject of exaggeration, it may not be amiss to draw attention to the present tendency, in some circles, to indulge in wild flights of imagination. Worse yet, the tendency to advertise the abilities of certain preachers, teachers and singers, etc. Superlatives are piled on superlatives in the attempt to assure the reader, or hearer, that all who come to hear this marvelous person will be both greatly honored and highly privileged. The public is invited to listen to, "The most gifted, eloquent, dynamic speaker that has ever graced the town with his illustrious presence." It is to be feared that sometimes the preacher himself becomes a party to this form of self-advertising.
Our third topic is titled "What's the Big Idea?, Part 6" from "Biblical Preaching" by Haddon W. Robinson. He writes:
--- Examples of Forming an Idea (Part 1)
In some biblical passages the subject and complement may be discovered with relative ease, but in others determining the idea stands as a major challenge. Psalm 117 is an example of an uncomplicated thought. The psalmist urges:
Praise the Lord, all nations!
Extol him, all you people!
For his love is strong,
His faithfulness eternal.
We do not understand the psalm until we can state its subject. What is the psalmist talking about? We might be tempted to say that the subject is praise, but praise is broad and imprecise. The psalmist isn’t telling us everything about praise. Nor is the subject praise of God, which is still too broad. The subject needs more limits. The precise subject is why everyone should praise the Lord. What, then, is the psalmist saying about that? He has two complements to his subject. The Lord should be praised, first, because his love is strong and second, because his faithfulness is eternal. In this short psalm the psalmist states his naked idea, stripped of any development, but in its bare bones it has a definite subject and two complements.
Our Scripture verse on preaching is Matthew 10:27-28 which reads: "What I tell you in darkness, that speak ye in light: and what ye hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the housetops. And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell."
Our quote on preaching today is from Francis de Sales. He said, "The test of a preacher is that his congregation goes away saying, not ‘What a lovely sermon,’ but ‘I will do something!’"
In this podcast, we are using as our texts, the following three books: "Lectures to My Students" by Charles H. Spurgeon; "The Preacher and his Preaching" by Alfred P. Gibbs; and "Biblical Preaching" by Haddon W. Robinson.
Our first topic is titled "The Call to the Ministry, Part 1" from "Lectures to My Students" by Charles H. Spurgeon. He writes:
Any Christian has a right to disseminate the gospel who has the ability to do so; and more, he not only has the right, but it is his duty so to do as long as he lives. The propagation of the gospel is left, not to a few, but to all the disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ: according to the measure of grace entrusted to him by the Holy Spirit, each man is bound to minister in his day and generation, both to the church and among unbelievers. Indeed, this question goes beyond men, and even includes the whole of the other sex; whether believers are male or female, they are all bound, when enabled by divine grace, to exert themselves to the utmost to extend the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. Our service, however, need not take the particular form of preaching -- certainly, in some cases it must not, as for instance in the case of females, whose public teaching is expressly prohibited.
Our second topic is titled "The Qualifications of the Preacher, Part 14" from "The Preacher and his Preaching" by Alfred P. Gibbs.
This section is titled: HE MUST BE CLEAN IN LIFE (PART 3)
--- The peril of prominence
A preacher occupies a far more prominent place in the public eye than those who take no part in preaching. Therefore there exists the need for a correspondingly circumspect walk before men. A pocket watch and a public clock both serve the same purpose, to tell the time. If a watch gets out of order, only the owner is affected; but if a public clock goes wrong, hundreds of people are misled. Thus a prominent position carries with it a far greater necessity and responsibility for a consistent life. This will involve merciless self-judgment, separation from all known sin and, in some cases, denying of the legitimate things of life, that the testimony of Christ and “the ministry be not blamed”.
Our third topic is titled "What's the Big Idea?, Part 5" from "Biblical Preaching" by Haddon W. Robinson. He writes:
--- The Formation of an Idea
To define an idea with “scrupulous exactness,” we must know how ideas are formed. When reduced to its basic structure, an idea consists of only two essential elements: a subject and a complement. Both are necessary. When we talk about the subject of an idea, we mean the complete, definite answer to the question, “What am I talking about?” The subject as it is used in homiletics is not the same thing as a subject in grammar. A grammatical subject is often a single word. The subject of a sermon idea can never be only one word. It calls for the full, precise answer to the question, “What am I talking about?” Single words such as discipleship, witnessing, worship, grief, or love may masquerade as subjects, but they are too vague to be viable.
Our Scripture verse on preaching is Galatians 1:8-10 which reads: "Though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed. For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ."
Our quote on preaching today is from Tim Keller. He said, "Expository preaching should provide the main diet of preaching for a Christian community… It is the best method for displaying and conveying your conviction that the whole Bible is true. This approach testifies that you believe every part of the Bible to be God’s Word, not just particular themes and not just the parts you feel comfortable agreeing with."
Our first topic is titled "The Minister's Piety Must be Vigorous, Part 6" from "Lectures to My Students" by Charles H. Spurgeon. He writes:
Even in little things the minister should take care that his life is consistent with his ministry. He should be especially careful never to fall short of his word. This should be pushed even to scrupulosity; We cannot be too careful; truth must not only be in us, but shine from us. A celebrated doctor of divinity in London, who is now in heaven I have no doubt–a very excellent and godly man–gave notice one Sunday that he intended to visit all his people, and said, that in order to be able to get round and visit them and their families once in the year, he should take all the seatholders in order. A person well known to me, who was then a poor man, was delighted with the idea that the minister was coming to his house to see him, and about a week or two before he conceived it would be his turn, his wife was very careful to sweep the hearth and keep the house tidy, and the man ran home early from work, hoping each night to find the doctor there.
Our second topic is titled "The Qualifications of the Preacher, Part 13" from "The Preacher and his Preaching" by Alfred P. Gibbs.
This section is titled: HE MUST BE CLEAN IN LIFE (PART 2)
--- The Menace of Inconsistency
More damage has been brought to the cause of Christ through the inconsistent lives of those who profess His name and preach His Word than anything else has. Paul, by the Spirit, asks some searching questions, “Thou therefore which teachest another, teachest thou not thyself? Thou that preachest a man should not steal, dost thou steal?…Thou that abhorrest idols, dost thou commit sacrilege? Thou that makest thy boast of the law, through breaking the law dishonorest thou God? For the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles through you, as it is written”.
Note also that inconsistency of life causes both God’s doctrine and His Word to be blasphemed. It is recorded that Nathan said to David, concerning his double sin of adultery and murder, “Because of this deed, thou hast given great occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme”. Time has proved how true this statement was. A man once said of a loose-living, but eloquent preacher, “When he is in the pulpit, I wish he’d never get out; when he’s out, I wish he’d never go back again!”
Our third topic is titled "What's the Big Idea?, Part 4" from "Biblical Preaching" by Haddon W. Robinson. He writes:
--- The Definition of an Idea
What do we mean by an idea? A glance at the dictionary demonstrates that defining an idea resembles trying to package fog. A complete definition could send us into the fields of philosophy, linguistics, and grammar. Webster ranges all the way from “a transcendent entity that is a real pattern of which existing things are imperfect representations” to “an entity (as a thought, concept, sensation, or image) actually or potentially present to consciousness.”
The word idea itself moved into English from the Greek word eido, which means “to see” and therefore “to know.” An idea sometimes enables us to see what was previously unclear. In common life when an explanation provides new insight, we exclaim, “Oh, I see what you mean!” Still another synonym for idea is concept, which comes from the verb to conceive. Just as a sperm and an egg join to produce new life in the womb, an idea begins in the mind when things ordinarily separated come together to form a unity that either did not exist before or was not recognized previously.
Our Scripture verse on preaching is 1 John 1:3 which reads: "That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ."
Our quote on preaching today is from Rich Mullins. He said, "I have attended church regularly since I was less than a week old. I've listened to sermons about virtue, sermons against vice. I have heard about money, time management, tithing, abstinence, and generosity. I've listened to thousands of sermons. But I could count on one hand the number of sermons that were a simple proclamation of the gospel of Christ."
In this podcast, we are using as our texts, the following three books: "Lectures to My Students" by Charles H. Spurgeon; "The Preacher and his Preaching" by Alfred P. Gibbs; and "Biblical Preaching" by Haddon W. Robinson. And, I want to remind you to take advantage of our special offer. If you enjoy this podcast, please feel free to purchase any one of these books for your personal library from the resources page on our website -- ProclaimPodcast.com.
Our first topic is titled "The Minister's Piety Must be Vigorous, Part 5" from "Lectures to My Students" by Charles H. Spurgeon. He writes:
Holiness in a minister is at once his chief necessity and his goodliest ornament. Mere moral excellence is not enough, there must be the higher virtue; a consistent character there must be, but this must be anointed with the sacred consecrating oil, or that which makes us most fragrant to God and man will be wanting. Old John Stoughton, in his treatise entitled "The Preacher's Dignity and Duty," insists upon the minister's holiness in sentences full of weight "If Uzzah must die but for touching the ark of God, and that to stay it when it was like to fall; if the men of Beth-shemesh for looking into it; if the very beasts that do but come near the holy mount be threatened; then what manner of persons ought they to be who shall be admitted to talk with God familiarly, to stand before him,' as the angels do, and behold his face continually;' to bear the ark upon their shoulders,' to bear his name before the Gentiles;' in a word, to be his ambassadors? Holiness becometh thy house, O Lord;' and were it not a ridiculous thing to imagine, that the vessels must be holy, the vestures must be holy, all must be holy, but only he upon whose very garments must be written holiness to the Lord,' might be unholy; that the bells of the horses should have an inscription of holiness upon them, in Zechariah, and the saints' bells, the bells of Aaron, should be unhallowed? No, they must be burning and shining lights,' or else their influence will dart some malignant quality; they must chew the cud and divide the hoof,' or else they are unclean; they must divide the word aright,' and walk uprightly in their life, and so join life to learning.
Our second topic is titled "The Qualifications of the Preacher, Part 12" from "The Preacher and his Preaching" by Alfred P. Gibbs.
This section is titled: HE MUST BE CLEAN IN LIFE (PART 1)
The world's adage, "Cleanliness is next to godliness," should be altered to read, "Cleanliness is godliness," as far as the believer is concerned.
Our third topic is titled "What's the Big Idea?, Part 3" from "Biblical Preaching" by Haddon W. Robinson. He writes:
The Importance of a Single Idea (Continued)
A novice may dismiss the importance of a central idea as the ploy of homiletics professors determined to press young preachers into their mold. It should be noted, therefore, that this basic fact of communication also claims sturdy biblical support. In the Old Testament the sermons of the prophets are called "the burden of the Lord." These proclamations were not a few "appropriate remarks" delivered because the prophet was expected to say something. Instead the prophet addressed his countrymen because he had something to say. He preached a message, complete and entire, to persuade his hearers to return to God. As a result the sermons of the prophets possessed both form and purpose. Each embodied a single theme directed toward a particular audience in order to elicit a specific response