Archive for the ‘passionate preaching’ Category

What is preaching? Logic on fire! Eloquent reason!

December 5, 2011

There was an old preacher whom I knew very well in Wales. He was a very able old man and a good theologian; but, I am sorry to say that, he had a tendency to cynicism. But he was a very acute critic. On one ocassion he was present at a synod in the final session of which two men were preaching. Both these men were professors of theology.

The first man preached, and when he had finished this old preacher, this old critic turned to his neighbour and said, ‘Light without heat.’ Then the second professor preached – he was an older man and somewhat emotional. When he had finished the old cynic turned to his neighbour and said, ‘Heat without light.’

Now he was right in both cases. But the important point is that both preachers were defective. You must have light and heat, sermon plus preaching.

Light without heat never affects anybody; heat without light is of no permanent value. It may have a passing temporal effect but it does not really help your people and build them up and really deal with them.

What is preaching? Logic on fire! Eloquent reason!

Are these contradictions? Of course they are not. Reason concerning this Truth ought to be mightily eloquent, as you see it in the case of the Apostle Paul and others. It is theology on fire. And a theology which does not take fire, I maintain is a defective theology; or at least the man’s understanding of it is defective. Preaching is theology coming through a man who is on fire.

A true understanding and experience of the Truth must lead to this. I say again that a man who can speak about these things dispassionately has no right whatsover to be in a pulpit; and should never be allowed to enter one.

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.

Martyn Lloyd Jones, Preaching and Preachers, 1985, p.97

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Reading a sermon is not preaching

December 4, 2011

There is the sermon, a sermon which he has prepared; and then there is the ‘act’ of delivering this sermon. Another way of stating it is this. A man came – I think it was actually in Philadelphia – on one occasion to hear the great George Whitefield and asked if he might print his sermons. Whitefield gave this reply: ‘Well, I have no inherent objection, if you like, but you will never be able to put on the printed page the lightning and thunder.’ That is the distinction – the sermon, and ‘the lightning and thunder.’ To Whitefield this was of very great importance, and it should be of very great importance to all preachers, as I hope to show. You can put the sermon into print, but not the lightning and thunder. That comes into the act of preaching and cannot be put into print. Indeed it almost baffles the descriptive powers of the best reporters.

D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Preaching and Preachers (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1971), 58.

Brethren, we must plead

September 11, 2010

The class requiring logical argument is small compared with the number of those who need to be pleaded with, by way of emotional persuasion. They require not so much reasoning as heart-argument – which is logic set on fire. . . . Argument must be quickened into persuasion by the living warmth of love. Cold logic has its force, but when made red hot with affection the power of tender argument is inconceivable. . . . When passionate zeal has carried the man himself away his speech becomes an irresistible torrent, sweeping all before it. A man known to be godly and devout, and felt to be large-hearted and self-sacrificing, has a power in his very person, and his advice and recommendation carry weight because of his character; but when he comes to plead and to persuade, even to tears, his influence is wonderful, and God the Holy Spirit yokes it into his service. Brethren, we must plead.

Charles Spurgeon, Lectures to My Students, Volume 3, Lecture 10: “On Conversion as our Aim.”

He did earnestly urge us, in plain and simple language, not to put off the consideration of eternal things. He did entreat us to look to Christ

February 6, 2010

‘In a little while there will be a concourse of persons in the streets. Methinks I hear someone enquiring, “What are all these people waiting for?” “Do you not know? He is to be buried to-day.” “And who is that!” “It is Spurgeon.” “What! the man that preached at the Tabernacle'” “Yes; he is to be buried to-day.” That will happen very soon; and when you see my coffin carried to the silent grave, I should like every one of you, whether converted or not, to be constrained to say, “He did earnestly urge us, in plain and simple language, not to put off the consideration of eternal things. He did entreat us to look to Christ. Now he is gone, our blood is not at his door if we perish.” God grant that you may not have to bear the bitter reproach of your own conscience! But, as I feel “the time is short,” I will stir you up so long as I am in this Tabernacle.’

Spurgeon, at the close of his sermon, on Lord’s-day evening, December 27, 1874

a man who stood as if he pleaded with men

December 8, 2009

As a preacher Bunyan was described as ‘a man who stood as if he pleaded with men.’

Quoted in Faith Cook, Fearless Pilgrim: The Life and Times of John Bunyan, Evangelical Press, 2008, p.425

He himself said:

O that they who have heard me speak this day did but see as I do what sin, death, hell, and the curse of God is; and also what the grace, and love, and mercy of God is, through Christ, to men…And, indeed, I did often say in my heart before the Lord, That if to be hanged up presently before their eyes would be a means to awaken them…I gladly should be contented.

ibid., p.430

If I am out of prison today, I will preach the gospel tomorrow by the help of God

December 8, 2009

If I am out of prison today, I will preach the gospel tomorrow by the help of God.

John Bunyan in reply to the judgement of the court, which was as follows:

You must be had back again to prison, and lie there for three months following; and, at the three months’ end, if you do not submit, and go to church to hear Divine service, and leave your preaching, you must be banished the realm; and if, after such a day as shall be appointed you to be gone, you shall be found in this realm, yon must stretch by the neck for it.

Faith Cook, Fearless Pilgrim: The Life and Times of John Bunyan, Evangelical Press, 2008, pp.197-8

I preached what I felt, what I smartingly did feel, even that under which my poor soul did groan and tremble to astonishment

December 7, 2009

Now this part of my work I fulfilled with great sense; for the terrors of the law, and guilt for my transgressions, lay heavy on my conscience. I preached what I felt, what I smartingly did feel, even that under which my poor soul did groan and tremble to astonishment.

John Bunyan, in Faith Cook, Fearless Pilgrim: The Life and Times of John Bunyan, Evangelical Press, 2008, p.132

Not a cold, dry preacher was Bunyan. If we are unmoved, why should our hearers be?

So whenever John Bunyan was able, after his long day’s work mednding pots and pans, he would trek out to some village, gather a congregation and begin to preach. The results were astonishing. Often he could see the tears running down the faces of his hearers as his stirring words touched their hearts and consciences

December 7, 2009

So whenever John Bunyan was able, after his long day’s work mending pots and pans, he would trek out to some village, gather a congregation and begin to preach. The results were astonishing. Often he could see the tears running down the faces of his hearers as his stirring words touched their hearts and consciences. At first he could hardly believe ‘that God should speak by me to the heart of any man, still counting myself unworthy’. He tried to brush aside the evidences that his preaching was effectual and souls were being awakened, but at last he ‘began to conclude it might be so, that God had owned in his work such a foolish one as I’.

Faith Cook, Fearless Pilgrim: The Life and Times of John Bunyan, Evangelical Press, 2008, p.132

John Bunyan’s Call to the Ministry

December 7, 2009

Wherefore, to be brief, at last, being still desired by the church, after some solemn prayer to the Lord, with fasting, I was more particularly called forth, and appointed to a more ordinary and public preaching of the Word, not only to and amongst them that believed, but also to offer the Gospel to those who had not yet received the faith thereof; about which time I did evidently find in my mind a secret pricking forward thereto, though I bless God, not for desire of vain-glory, for at that time I was most sorely afflicted with the fiery darts of the devil concerning my eternal state.

But yet I could not be content unless I was found in the exercise of my gift, unto which also I was greatly animated

John Bunyan, Grace Abounding, 268-9

In other words, he just had to preach. God laid the burden on him and the gift was there to be exercised.

If our words be not sharpened

September 19, 2009

it is no easy matter to speak so plainly, that the most ignorant may understand us; and so seriously that the deadest hearts may feel us; and so convincingly, that the contradicting cavillers* may be silenced. The weight of our matter condemneth coldness and sleepy dullness. We should see that we be well awakened ourselves, and our spirits in such a plight as may make us fit to awaken others. If our words be not sharpened, and pierce not as nails, they will hardly be felt by stony hearts. To speak slightly and coldly of heavenly things is nearly as bad as to say nothing of them at all.

Richard Baxter, The Reformed Pastor, p. 117

* cavilla, Latin, ‘mockery’; cavil, a petty objection.

…he preacheth not heartily for his people, that prayeth not earnestly for them

ibid., p.122