Archive for the ‘preaching’ Category

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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… 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


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On February 25, 1838, Robert Murray M‘Cheyne preached from 1 Samuel 3:19 a sermon entitled ‘God Let None of his Words Fall to the Ground’. In the course of his exposition he gave the following illustration of how blessing may follow the preaching of God’s Word long after its spokesman has departed this life.

The excellent John Flavel (1627 – 1691) was minister of Dartmouth, in England. One day he preached from these words: “If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be anathema maranatha.” The discourse was unusually solemn – particularly the explanation of the curse. At the conclusion, when Mr Flavel rose to pronounce the blessing, he paused, and said: “How shall I bless this whole assembly, when every person in it who loves not the Lord Jesus is anathema maranatha?”

The solemnity of this address deeply affected the audience. In the congregation was a lad named Luke Short, about fifteen years old, a native of Dartmouth.

Shortly after, he went to sea, and sailed to America, where he passed the rest of his life. His life was lengthened far beyond the usual term. When a hundred years old, he was able to work on his farm, and his mind was not at all impaired. He had lived all this time in carelessness and sin; he was a sinner a hundred years old, and ready to die accursed.

One day, as he sat in his field, he busied himself in reflecting on his past life. He thought of the days of his youth. His memory fixed on Mr Flavel’s sermon, a considerable part of which he remembered. The earnestness of the minister – the truths spoken – the effect on the people – all came fresh to his mind.

He felt that he had not loved the Lord Jesus; he feared the dreadful anathema; he was deeply convinced of sin – was brought to the blood of sprinkling. He lived to his one hundred and sixteenth year (1746), giving every evidence of being born again.


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“It is a poor sermon that gives no offense — that neither makes the hearer displeased with himself nor with the preacher.”

source: George Whitefield

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Thus saith the Lord

Self-examination in preachers was a trademark of New England Puritan preaching. “Before calling the congregation to account to God for their lives, thoughts and feelings, the minister first had to submit his own life to a withering, divine scrutiny. Only then could he project that message outward and say to his congregation with the proper combination of humility and finality, “Thus saith the Lord.”‘

source: Harry Stout

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