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The things we should pray for in the morning of the Sabbath. Let us beg a blessing upon the word which is to be preached; that it may be a savour of life to us; that by it our minds may be more illuminated, our corruptions more weakened, and our stock of grace more increased. Let us pray that God’s special presence may be with us, that our hearts may burn within us while God speaks, that we may receive the word into meek and humble hearts, and that we may submit to it, and bring forth fruits. … Pray for him who dispenses the word; that his tongue may be touched with a coal from God’s altar; that God would warm his heart who is to help to warm others. Your prayers may be a means to quicken the minister. Some complain they find no benefit by the word preached; perhaps they did not pray for their minister as they should. Prayer is like the whetting and sharpening of an instrument, which makes it cut better. Pray with and for your family. Yea, pray for all the congregations that meet on this day in the fear of the Lord; that the dew of the Spirit may fall with the manna of the word; that some souls may be converted, and others strengthened; that gospel ordinances may be continued, and have no restraint put upon them. These are the things we should pray for. The tree of mercy will not drop its fruit, useless it be shaken by the hand of prayer.

Source: Thomas Watson, The Ten Commandments

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Preaching

… in the language of earlier generations of preachers, to both wound and heal, sing and sting, disturb the comfortable and comfort the disturbed.

Source: Capill, The Heart is the Target p.19

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"The Holy Spirit does a work of change on people during the preaching. There are short sound bites and fleeting nano-moments of epiphany, which act as tiny chisels that tap away at our souls while imperceptibly shaping us."

 

Source: Clint Archer, September 22, 2014 Drinking from a Fire-Hose: why so many sermons http://thecripplegate.com/drinking-from-a-fire-hose-why-so-many-sermons-reprise/

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In regard to preaching unpopular doctrines, such as election before some audiences, future punishment, depravity, and even missions, before others; one comprehensive rule maybe given, be faithful and fearless, but skillful and affectionate.

John Broadus, On the Preparation and Delivery of Sermons, p. 25.

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The pastor ought to have two voices: one, for gathering the sheep; and another, for warding off and driving away wolves and thieves. The Scripture supplies him with the means of doing both; for he who is deeply skilled in it will be able both to govern those who are teachable, and to refute the enemies of the truth.

Source: John Calvin on Titus 1:9 “He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it. ”

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John Wesley writing to John Trembath (August 17, 1760), a young minister who was a poor preacher:

What has exceedingly hurt you in time past, nay, and I fear, to this day, is lack of reading.

I scarce ever knew a preacher who read so little.

And perhaps, by neglecting it, you have lost the taste for it.

Hence your talent in preaching does not increase.  It is just the same as it was seven years ago.  It is lively, but not deep; there is little variety; there is no compass of thought.

Reading only can supply this, with meditation and daily prayer.

You wrong yourself greatly by omitting this.

You can never be a deep preacher without it, any more than a thorough Christian.

Oh begin!  Fix some part of every day for private exercise.  You may acquire the taste which you have not; what is tedious at first will afterward be pleasant.

Whether you like it or not, read and pray daily.

It is for your life; there is no other way; else you will be a trifler all your days, and a pretty, superficial preacher.

Do justice to your own soul; give it time and means to grow.

Do not starve yourself any longer.

Take up your cross and be a Christian altogether.

Then will all the children of God rejoice (not grieve) over you, and in particular yours.

Quoted in D. A. Carson and John D. Woodbridge, Letters Along the Way (Wheaton, 1993), p. 169. The original letter can be read here.

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A Christian sermon connects with the bigger redemptive-historical narrative of God’s actions in saving sinners and in strengthening sinners.

It also relates to Christian discipline – discipline that is dependent on the Holy Spirit, discipline that is not earning your salvation, discipline that is the fruit and not the root of your acceptance with God. And all of that takes you to the cross.

Source: Modified from comments made by John Piper

http://www.desiringgod.org/Blog/2356_does_every_sermon_have_to_be_about_jesus/

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