I regret the negative way in which this topic has been cast. I think most of us have enough sense of logic to reason from the topic to ourselves and therefore to conclude that this will be an attempt to expose weaknesses in our own preaching. I wish that the title had been a bit more positive. Perhaps ‘Hints to Improve Contemporary Preaching’ would have been more suitable. However, this is the topic that has been assigned to me and so I shall seek to proceed within its framework.
AN EARNEST MINISTRY—
The Need of the Times
by John Angell James, 1847
PUBLISHED BY MISSIONARY EMMANUEL SAMSONJUDE
(watchman of The Overcomers Bride of Christ WorldWide Ministry)
“Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we implore you in Christ’s stead–be reconciled to God.” 2 Cor. 5:20
In this truly wonderful passage, viewed in connection with its context, are set before us with beautiful simplicity, yet with surpassing grandeur–the theme, the design, and the method, of the Christian ministry. The theme is God reconciling the world to himself; a subject compared with which the negotiations of hostile nations and the treaties which put an end to the horrors of war, and bind in concord the fiercest passions of humanity, are matters of only momentary and limited importance. The design of the ministry, which is strictly in harmony with its theme, is to bring sinful men into actual reconciliation with God, on the ground of that system of mediation through Christ which God himself has devised and proclaimed. And its method is the earnestness of persuasion addressed to the rebel heart of man, in order to induce him to lay aside his enmity against his offended Sovereign, and to accept this offer of a gracious amnesty.
The Christian Ministry
By Samuel Davies, Hanover, Virginia, June 5, 1757; at the ordination of the Mr. John Martin, to the ministry of the gospel.
“This is a true saying, if any man desires the office of a bishop—he desires a good work.” 1 Timothy 3:1
“If any man desires the office of a bishop.” The word here rendered DESIRE is very strong and emphatic; and signifies to catch at—to reach after—to be carried away with eager desires. And this naturally leads me to say something of those inward struggles and perplexities— those eager desires and agonies of zeal, which honest souls generally feel before they enter into the ministry; and by which it pleases God to qualify them for it.
|A CHALLENGE FOR THE PASTORS|
If the Holy Spirit does not come, and give spiritual life,
we may preach until we have not another breath left,
but we shall not raise from the tomb of sin even the soul of
a little child, or bring a single sinner to the feet of Christ
Letters to Young Ministers —
The Cultivation of Personal Piety
by James Alexander (1804—1859)
It is scarcely possible to treat of some subjects without running into common places: their very importance has made them trite, just as we observe great highways to be most beaten. The question has been much discussed, whether a minister should ever preach beyond his own experience. In one sense, unquestionably, he should. He is commissioned to preach, not himself, or his experience—but Christ Jesus, the Lord, and his salvation. He is a messenger, and his message is laid before him in the scriptures; it is at his peril, that he suppresses anything, whether he has experienced it or not. He is, for example, not to withhold consolation to God’s deeply afflicted ones, until he has experienced deep affliction himself. Yet every preacher of the gospel should earnestly strive to attain the experience of the truths which he communicates, and to have every doctrine which he utters turned into vital exercises of his heart; so that when he stands up to speak in the name of God, there may be that indescribable freshness and penetrativeness, which arise from individual and present interest in what is declared. Letters to Young Ministers