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October 14, 2022 4:00 am
Throughout church history there have been certain pastors who stood out because of their powerful preaching.
So what was the key to their success today on Truth for Life. Alastair Bragg explores the essential elements found in effective preaching and he explains why weakness is actually an advantage when it comes to proclaiming God's word from Augustine to the Reformation is kind of dark enough.
As dark fights on this. Currently that is dark. There was light.
The factors mentioned above, namely rhetoric and allegory in liturgy were also interwoven then with all of the speculative tendencies of the logic of Aristotle and it all mangled up during that time, and essentially strangled in the main biblical and God glorifying preaching that was why the Reformation had to come in.
So in the Reformation we get into familiar territory and there we get Calvin and Zwingli and Wycliffe and Hoss and all the rest and what are they do.
They essentially look back to Chrysostom to look back to Augustine. They look back to the apostolic pattern and they say now we must ground our preaching in the Scriptures and once again they make it clear the issue is what is proclaimed, not the proclaimer, and also since God speaks to man in the proclamation of the word no one irrespective of their level of maturity or of their theological insight is ever in a position of no longer needing or submitting an obedience to the ministry of the word of God.
None of eyes are ever beyond our need to sit under the teaching of Scripture. If in preaching God speaks to men, then none of us no matter how mature, how theologically a drought, we may be we are never in a position of no longer needing or submitting an obedience to the word says Calvin. None may think that he has advanced beyond the necessity of hearing preaching because he is able to interpret the Bible for himself not have as may advanced beyond the necessity of hearing preaching because God is our day and that the word of God is to be preached and there is no church without the preaching of the word.
The celebration of the sacraments, the exercise of jurisdiction, plan, and so on. So are not free to turn the church into 45 little home Bible studies and say that's it.
It is essential that much of the congregation gathers to attend upon the preaching of the word of God and the pattern I'm suggesting to you all that is well established in the Old Testament Scriptures and then throughout all of history. Now when you come to the post Reformation era, which is vast then. Now we find the same thing is taking place in the best of preaching.
The preaching of Edwards and of Whitfield the Wesley's Charles Simeon Spurgeon, and so on. In all of that wonderful preaching what you find.
It is grounded in the Scriptures is focused upon Christ and its ultimate end is the glory of God that I think is the key to the success of these men Philip right can in a really helpful book discovering guarded stories from the Bible says in page 124 quarts another fellow on page hundred and 24 a boy by the name of Jack Miller, whom I don't know, writing concerning the, the preaching of these individuals. He said this is what he says I am convinced that what gave evangelists in the 18 century remarkable power was the Whitfield Wesley confidence in the supreme authority of Christ. Jesus acted in and through them, not because they were powerful persons, but because they were empty vessels needing grace. He was the one who forgave and cleansed them. He was the one who sent them with the gospel and he was the one who open the hearts of hardened people to a very humbling message. By contrast, believers today typically serve a much smaller Christ and one further brief quote talk about the source of power in evangelism. He says the leaders of the great awakening had extraordinary power in evangelism and renewal. They followed an omnipotent Christ, the divine warrior and he anointed them with his missionary presence, but this power was poured out on those who knew that they where inherently powerless without a constant dependence upon the working of God's grace in their lives. Now there is a fundamental principle and I that we need to keep coming back to again and again. The only and when we surveyed it. This set of history of preaching from 50,000 feet. If you like, and we begin to drop down on the preaching of individuals where it is effective all that I'm saying again and again is this that these essential elements irrespective of personality context timeframe. These essential elements are found again and again. What ought to be the encouragement and that for us. God we can do that with your help we can to because I know we say that I am empty and inherently powerless. If the objective of God is that we would depend upon him, then weakness is an advantage. Independence is the objective, then weakness is the advantage which is so antithetical to our day because we go to events like this and even sitting next to the fellow next doors were 10 divisions restarted talk about whatever it is were involved and we want to make sure that everybody knows how wonderfully powerful and effective.
It really is that were doing only want to couch it in the right kind of phraseology and over the little bit of litotes and to back off on the hyperbole and everything and say, not a few have, rather than a whole ton of you know, and so on. But essentially it's inherent Dennis sent me inherent in me. I don't mean to do a display to any of you are it was the kind of preaching that magnifies God that GW Alexander describes in this way, the great end of preaching he says, is to glorify God and blessed man by bringing sinners to the obedience of faith in Christ promoting their sanctification, their knowledge, love and adoration of God. Now the risk of sounding like a broken gramophone record gentlemen brothers in Christ, we have to be asking ourselves doing the post operative study in relationship to what we're doing on a Sunday in a series. Whatever else it is, is the great end of preaching my preaching here at this point in time glorifying God blessing man bringing sinners to obedience and faith in Christ promoting their sanctification deepening their knowledge, their love and adoration of God. I suggest to you that if we said that is the great all-consuming goal.
One. We will never be done to we will never think of ourselves more highly than the that we ought three. We will always have sermon material on floor. We will be kept away from dropping down into giving her congregation what they think they need which is really what they want, which is what they need at all and we have to hold out for this. In this generation intimate these days, says Hanley move the church from a human perspective trembled on the brink of annihilation. Look at the wholesale defection of the church in Asia after the tremendous revival that it taken place there poses everyone in Asia has deserted me. I'm about to die. My life is ebbing away. I'm already being poured out like a drink off so you got the death of the mighty apostolate of the defection of the church in Asia you got this little whippersnapper Timothy was coming along is next in line.
Got a dreadful problem with her stomach. This why is to drink wine for stomach sake.
He's naturally timid. That's why Paul is the right to the Corinthians, and say make sure the you put them in the eye disease is chronologically to young let no man despise your youth and people are getting sick today and will be a church in another generation thinks it's finished. Just sit back and let it die, humanly speaking, the church trembled on the brink of annihilation.
God said Jesus said I will build my church. The gates of hell will not prevail against it. Therefore, through the legs of Timothy and thinks about goes on today.
The church in America, trembles on the brink of capitulation capitulation to the Moors philosophies and notions of our day. That's what I think makes this whole thing so tremendously telling and vitally important.
I don't think that any other kind of preaching. Other than that which is owned by the spirit of God, which is anointed by the Spirit of God which exalts Christ, which is grounded in Scripture can look to see God really blessed when on the NSS blessing in terms of numerical things per se, but I think that there is much question that if a young man will take the Bible will take his life will live his life down before Christ and put his nose in the Bible, and his knees on the floor, at least in the silence of his own room and cry out to God for help that he will see remarkable things happen because remember the ministry of the Holy Spirit is to make much of Christ. He will not speak on his own.
He will speak only what he hears, he will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you that was his promise to the apostles when God is the great overshadowing object of our message that we have reason for confidence in going into the pool. Eric Alexander resetting to the preaching of Martyn Lloyd Jones said this, those of us who have had the privilege of hearing him will not easily forget the sense of all which came upon one soul as he was gripped by the glory of the gospel and and God spoke with such power through yet it was not the man who lingered in the mind nor was the lasting impression one of human gifts or intellectual ability or personal magnetism.
Rather, it was the power of truth, the greatness of God, the poverty of man and the glorious relevance and authority of holy Scripture, which left an indelible mark on his hearers now listen, how would it ever be that any of our listeners would go away. Being struck by a sense of the greatness of God, the poverty of man, the glory of the gospel and the authority of the Bible remember what was said at the outset are presuppositions regarding preaching will determine the way in which we preach and what we preach, and our families who know is best and are congregations who begin to know is very well will know whether we are possessed of these passions, they would have to be geniuses to figure it out. Do they have a sense that the pastor has is a consuming longing for God to be glorified and what takes place are busy quite frankly have a great longing to be glorified himself for God will not share his glory with us, you know so glad and glorify yourself, but I'd sense his leg when he says that the Pharisees, I hope you enjoyed your reward and the beer was at all those old parading Gregory you know what a great prayer. Gregory is Jesus is will I hope you enjoyed the fact that everyone say what a great prayer you are because you've had it. You've had your reward.
There's nothing else and I hope you enjoyed it. When you are putting your money in every said my my little whether putting the money in because you've had and there's nothing else and he comes to me and he says well I hope you enjoyed it when everybody said my my. That was terrific and how good that was you because you've had it. And there's nothing else for the day will bring our work to lights would hey stubble, gold, silver and precious stones. The day will bring you to lights. Surely, that's what Paul has in mind what is it I don't care for and I don't care from junk by you or by anybody else you know being dismissive of people's interest anymore. Their consent form but he's saying if you think I'm scared of you knew the rocks in your head because I have got an appointment with God Almighty doom I have to give an answer for every word I've spoken, and if you think a human unsettlingly don't lose a wink of sleep over. I don't really care because I given because even dismissive of people is because he was so even cared so much about the fight that the day would bring it to light. I file seven preach to others. He said that I myself should become a castaway. On another occasion when Eric Alexander has ahead as a young man being us leaving the service at which Martyn Lloyd Jones was preaching Lloyd Jones and preach for about an hour and 15 minutes and he sat down he came down the steps and he sat down and just felt fell into the seat next to Eric Alexander someone also going up to to conclude the service and Eric overawed by the event that had just taken place said to the doctor.
He said how do you feel, and the doctor said tired and he followed it up boldly by asking the question in what way which which probably annoyed him intensely but he turned, he turned to them either then or immediately after the conclusion of the service in these and he said this, I think that in doing what I have just done.
This is the one occasion when a man comes closest to the experience of travail in childbirth. I was his answer, we have to say that your people will first have to understand one another. Given a talk man a box where heaven babies, provided we go in with a sense of burden we see are presuppositions.
That's why the go get them. Camaraderie can never be related to a sense of bird for the guys got a go get them and understand what you're going to see if if preaching were simply a man giving spiritual advice to his religious inferiors, which is what people sometimes regardless preaching than there would be no surprise, says Baxter. Whatever you do, let the people see that you are in good earnest. You cannot break men's hearts by digesting with or telling a smooth tail or patching up a gaudy oration man will not castaway their dealers pleasures up on a drowsy request of one that Siemens not to mean that he speaks or to care much whether his request be granted. So, we wonder why it is that our congregations do not castaway their dealers pleasures wouldn't I want to assume that is the stubbornness of their hearts, but it may be on account of my drowsy request that I meet red drowsy request in such a way as to create the impression that I don't mean what I say. And finally, I don't care much whether the do anything with her tall, let me give you one final illustration from the 17th century in Scotland. Those of you going to Scotland and I hope all of you will before you die so that you can complete your education will probably drive on the inmate between Glasgow and Edinburgh when you drive out from Glasgow on the meat you will be confronted by various bits and pieces but eventually it will be impossible for you to miss our church up on your right hand side, which is called Kirk all shots shots is the name of the place and always off and is the church of shots in 1630, the minister there was a man by the name of John Livingston. He was preaching at a communion season.
In other words, he was preaching the week preceding the communion that led up to communion on the Sunday and his preaching that particular week, was accompanied by an unusual sense of God's presence and so the elders extended it by a day asking Livingston to preach once again on the Monday very unusual never happened before the preach for a complete week. Come to the Sunday that communion was supposedly the consummation of things, but the other said no, we think you should preach again tomorrow evening. Livingston was a very modest, godly, humble man and was fearful of the responsibility is recorded that he spent most of the night struggling some of the time in prayer could find no peace of soul until in the early hours of the Monday morning God gave him a message and also an assurance that his preaching would be attended with great power so he preach on that particular passage on the Monday evening and the result was that 500 individuals profess faith in Christ and read it in the churches in the locality was a tremendous day and overwhelming experience of the outpouring of the Spirit of God.
God's glory was revealed and it never happened before and it never happened again in his ministry was a lesson lesson is that he wasn't preaching occur for shots in the forlorn hope that God would come in and some special visitation and that he would save dramatic numbers of people, but he was preaching faithfully Sunday by Sunday in a way that was grounded in Scripture focused in Christ exalting the father and got Kate chose to just come along and go hey there you are. Livingston there's a real encouragement for you and then next Sunday. Business as usual for most of as it will be business as usual God may never give us such a Sunday. On Monday, while there is a kind of preaching, which exalts man and dethroned his God. It is a kind of magnifies God puts man in his place, and I want us to be about the latter. One final quote from Larry Fenderson who was a professor of Free Church College. Let me give a word of personal testimony.
It is that in a ministry of 50 years and many hours of conscious weakness and inadequacy, and indeed of well-nigh despair in going to deliver my message. I felt strengthened and indeed emboldened by the consciousness that if I was in the will of God at the task that he entrusted to me.
I was fulfilling the eternal purpose of God to some soul in my audience, and that even through my inadequacy. It would prove the power of God unto salvation to that soul, by the grace and wisdom of him who, when he appointed the end also appointed the means that brethren was where I fell back right gladly on the sovereignty of divine grace and the certainty that his eternal purpose of mercy must receive fulfillment.
It was the warmth of my office and the sheet anchor of my authority and confidence. That's the kind of conviction that we are talking about I lay all of this down is foundational last when we come to the issue of expository preaching. We get ourselves all tied up in knots thinking about methodology will not talk about methodology here and were not talking about style. Talk about an approach to the people in an approach to the Bible approach to the sinfulness of our own hearts.
That is, that such as we just outlined in this brief historical survey as Alister Greg said today. Powerful preaching is grounded in Scripture focused on Christ glorifies God along your listing to Alistair Begg untruthful life and he will be back to close today's program in just a minute now. October is pastor appreciation month and because of that, Alister has been teaching on the topic of biblical preaching and how ministry reflects a pastor's careful stewardship of God's word. If you'd like to hear all of the teaching in the series, which we call the pastor's study. You can listen online for free Truth for Life.org or on the app when you search for the title the past two study.
You can also purchase the complete study on a USB for just five dollars.
You'll find that in our online firstname.lastname@example.org/store. Now if you enjoy Alister's teaching you might want to take advantage of the deeper faith 2023 Mediterranean cruise.
Alister will be the guest speaker for this cruise.
It takes us through various ports in the Mediterranean. You'll explore places like Naples, Italy, the letter multiple or the spectacular city of Venice in the evenings, enjoy a time of Christian fellowship studying the Bible with Alister.
The voyage runs from August 26 through September 4, 2023.
You can find out all about in book your cabin when you go to deeper faith cruise.com. By the way the book we been talking about this month a devotional for pastors wives called partners in the gospel were only offering it through this weekend so if you haven't already requested your copy you want to do that today partners in the gospel is written as a devotional if use Scripture to address situations that the wives of church leaders can face and then it guides them through a biblical response and concerted prayer request for copy of partners in the gospel when you give a email@example.com/donate now here is Alister with prayer father we pray now that the words of our mouths and the meditation of our hearts may be acceptable in your sight oh Lord, you are strengthened our Redeemer and so we commend to you our congregations and that those who are the unsung heroes of our churches made a number weary in doing good, and may you bless them today and bless us as we have this time of fellowship together.
In Jesus name, amen. I'm Bob Lapine. We hope you enjoy your weekend and are able to worship together with your local church on Monday will find out what it is about expository preaching that has made it so powerful through the ages the Bible teaching of Alistair Begg is furnished by Truth for Life with the Learning is for Living