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.