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Of Preaching and resolutions for the pulpit

December 11, 2008

Lately, I’ve been thinking quite a bit about preaching. I’ve also read a biography of Jonathan Edwards, and read his resolutions, which were written between 19 and 21, the age I find myself today. As a result, it came to my mind to draft a list of preaching resolutions, to be read over regularly as Edwards intended for his own resolutions. But first, I’ve just read Dallimore’s brilliant 250 page biography of Spurgeon, towards the end is a quote which really summarises what I attempt to do in the work of preaching:

“During the 1880’s a group of American ministers visited Engalnd, prompted especially by a desire to hear some of the celebrated preachers of that land. On a Sunday morning, they attended the City Temple where Dr Joseph Parker was the pastor. Some two thousand people filled the building, and Parker’s forceful personality dominated the service. His voice was commanding, his language descriptive, his imagination lively and his manner animated. The sermon was scriptural, the congregation hung upon his words, and the Americans came away saying, ‘What a wonderful preacher is Josheph Parker!’ In the evening, they went to hear Spurgeon at the Metropolitan Tabernacle. The building was much larger than the City Temple and the congregation was more than twice the size.  Spurgeon’s voice was much more expressive and moving and his oratory noticably superior. But they soon forgot all about the great building, the immense congregation, and the magnificent voice. They soon overlooked their intention to compare the various features of the two preachers, and when the service was over they found themselves saying; ‘What a wonderful Saviour is Jesus Christ!'”

The work of preaching will be extremely important in this new Reformation. Preaching God’s truth, God’s way will ultimately need to be done in such way so not as to come with mastery of speech and oratory, with the goal to impress the congregation as would a performer.

So, without further ado, here are my preaching resolutions:

Resolved, to preach the word.
Resolved, to live and preach to the glory of God.
Resolved, to declare God’s Sovereignty over all the world.

Resolved, that in these last days I shall remember that God has spoken to us by his Son, who he appointed heir of all things and head of the Church (Hebrews 1:1-3)

Resolved, to think upon the foolishness of the message preached.

Resolved, to remember the Father’s pleasure in using both the message preached and the method used.

Resolved, to see the role of preaching primarily as that of a herald and mediator.

Resolved, to look back and see that ‘Jesus came preaching’ (Mark 1:14).

Resolved, to believe in the sufficiency of the Scripture.

Resolved, not to forget that men and women in their natural state are dead in their sins and that dead men cannot be made alive apart from God (Ephesians 2:1-2).

Resolved, to rest not on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God (1 Corinthians 2:5)

Resolved, to remember that there is a famine in the land (Amos 8:11).

Resolved, to remember that sheep need food.

Resolved, to consider the healthiest diet of the church and hearers.

Resolved, to constantly think of biblical preaching as the most urgent need of the church today.

Resolved, to see true preaching as bringing and building a biblical, not humanistic worldview.

Resolved, to guard against false teaching.

Resolved, to view the work of preaching as more important than I currently do.

Resolved, to constantly remember that God’s people deserve more than half-hearted sermon preparation.

Resolved, to endeavour to accurately handle the word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15)

Resolved, to preach clearly.

Resolved, to preach with structure, so that the people may understand and be helped.

Resolved, that the scripture be applied to the audience of today.

Resolved, in preparation, to have the newspaper in one hand and the scriptures in the other.

Resolved, to think of the direct relationship between preaching, conversion and Christian living.

Resolved, to preach in such a way as to not bring unnecessary offence.

Resolved, to confront in love and gentleness as best I can.

Resolved, to preach dangerously.

Resolved, to preach in such a way as not to inspire awe as would a performer, or by the mere words of men.

Resolved, to present Christ and the glory of God for all to see.

Resolved, to believe more fully in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Resolved, through the text to preach Christ crucified, whether in the past, present or future.

Resolved, not to preach about God’s word, but to preach God’s word.

Resolved, to live the in light of the message preached so as not to disqualify myself.

Resolved, to preach the gospel to myself daily.

Resolved, to remember that Christ is coming back at any moment, as a result, to preach likewise.

-Till next time (hopefully soon!) Jono

 

 

 

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. Rhett permalink
    December 11, 2008 8:34 pm

    Finally!

  2. December 12, 2008 2:59 am

    Yes.

  3. Raybanz permalink
    December 16, 2008 12:13 am

    How Ironic, I was just reading Dr M. Lloyd-Jones book Preachers and preaching on Sunday in a chapter where he mentions Joseph Parker (whom I have never heard of before) and two days later you mention his name in a blog).

  4. Katherine N permalink
    March 2, 2009 8:50 am

    I really enjoyed reading these Jono!!

    Regarding the last one, it reminds me of a quote by a preacher named Baxter… resolving to preach “as a dying man to dying men”.

  5. March 2, 2009 8:59 am

    Thanks Katherine. Yes, it was in part based upon the words of the Puritam, Richard Baxter: “I resolved to preach as never sure to preach again, as a dying man to dying men.”

    And with that, I feel like I need to get this blog back off the ground now that I’m studing again. But at the same time, guard against too many debates and long-winded posts that sap time.

  6. Katherine permalink
    March 3, 2009 9:58 pm

    Yes, that was it – I think Al Mohler used it in an address during a seminary graduation.. Oh Lord, for greater death to self!

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