Here is one of the most insightful and influential quotes on preaching I ever read. It’s from Jonathan Edwards:
I don't think ministers are to be blamed for raising the affections of their hearers too high, if that which they are affected with be only that which is worthy of affection, and their affections are not raised beyond a proportion to their importance, or worthiness of affection.
I should think myself in the way of my duty to raise the affections of my hearers as high as possibly I can, provided that they are affected with nothing but truth, and with affections that are not disagreeable to the nature of what they are affected with.
You bear them yet, this progeny,
These little ones you bore.
And, oh, how changed your mothering
Since you were twenty-four.
You once were carried on the wings
Of hope and expectations,
And now you carry in your soul
The weight of generations.
But you have learned whose back can bear
The heaviness of years,
And I have seen you load his back,
And soak his robes with tears.
No mother ever touched his robe
And met disdain or jest;
And heavy generations yet
Will rise and call you bless’d.
The following is adapted from the sermon, "Do Not Forsake Your Mother's Teaching."
The book of Proverbs begins, "The proverbs of Solomon, son of David, king of Israel." He was a great king and the son of a great king. That means he was famous and powerful and supreme in all the realm. People bowed in his presence. They did what he said. He had immense authority and honor.
How did he treat his mother in this exalted role? You recall his mother was Bathsheba. She had married his father David under very ugly circumstances—very displeasing to God. But she was his mother, and this is what it says in 1 Kings 2:19,
Bathsheba went to King Solomon to speak to him for Adonijah. …
It is humbling to remember that as Christians we are still vulnerable to Satan’s deception. One moment we can speak glorious truth and the next moment destructive, satanic words. We must be on our guard, something Peter learned the hard way (Matthew 16:13-27).
Why Jesus had led his disciples up to Caesarea Philippi, they weren’t sure. At the foot of Mount Hermon in the far north of Palestine, the population was mostly pagan. Legend told that the Greek god, Pan, had been born in a nearby cave housing a great spring of water. Temples and shrines were built into the cliffs. Philip the Tetrarch made the city his capital, which he named in honor of Tiberius Caesar—and himself.
But for …
1 Corinthians 7:3-5
The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband. For the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. Likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. Do not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.
This is paradoxical counsel to married couples, and I think Paul knows it. It does not give either spouse the right to demand certain …
There is no clear dividing line between biblical repentance and Christ-exalting civic engagement.
By repentance I mean turning from unbelief and sin, and trusting in Jesus as Savior, Lord, and supreme Treasure of your life.
By civic engagement I mean making efforts in the secular public sphere for the sake of a more just and loving social order in the name of Jesus Christ who is Lord of all things.
But while all Bible-believing people agree that God has issued a global call to every person in the name of Jesus to repent, it is not as clear what this means for Christ-exalting civic engagement.
Paul’s sermon in Athens ended like this:
The times of …
It seems that God has indeed designed that the inspired Word of the Bible become uniquely powerful by passing through a Spirit-filled person on the way to make a dead heart live.
Since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. (1 Corinthians 1:21)
One reason for this is that the saving Word is gospel, that is, news. News is to be heralded. The news-quality is captured in the kind of speaking that announces, declares, proclaims, heralds, exults over the truth of what God has done in Christ.
Here is Spurgeon’s tribute to the power of “the preached Word.”
Personally, I have to b…
In a recent email update Iain Murray gave an uncommon and fitting exhortation:
With much attention now being given to Calvin, I hope why the Reformation was necessary will be understood afresh. We need the martyr spirit back again, and discrimination between brotherly love and only tepid reaction to God-dishonouring error.
All evangelicals should read the 1994 Catholic Catechism. Pope John Paul when in Australia, and speaking to priests, said, “Jesus did not want a church without priests. If priests are lacking, then Jesus is lacking in the world, as is his Eucharist and his forgiveness. . . . We share in the work of Christ, the eternal High Priest.’ Men and wome…
In the Minneapolis StarTribune last month, we read of the new “baby boomlet.” It illustrates how the vessel of culture sails without a biblical rudder.
Alesha, 36, had her first son at age 18. She had her second when she was 26. In neither case did the Minneapolis woman feel compelled to get married in order to be a good parent or to forge a solid parenting partnership with her boys’ dads. . . .
“I do know other moms like me,” said [Alesha], who is getting married in August. “Some of them are in relationships. Some of them have had in vitro. Some of them may want kids, but may not want a partner. . . .
[She] said it’s not that she wasn’t interested in marrying her sons’…
The abundance of audio and video recordings of preaching today tempts pastors to listen to themselves and look at themselves. One might improve a few things that way. But in general it’s a bad idea. John Stott explains why:
If you look at yourself in the mirror, and listen to yourself on tape, or do both simultaneously on videotape, I fear you may find that you continue to look at yourself and listen to yourself when you are in the pulpit. In that case you will condemn yourself to the cramping bondage of preoccupation with yourself just at the time when, in the pulpit, it is essential to cultivate self-forgetfulness through a growing awareness of the God for whom and the people…