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C. Matthew McMahon

Christian Preacher
I'm updating Gospel Worship by Burroughs (lots of requests for that). One of the things that is hitting me (again, having read this quite a few times), is twofold:

1. That unless we worship God as God requires, we don't worship God, and we have never sanctified his name. (This thought should be brought into many of the threads currently being conversed about).
The second is this:
2. That in preaching, the minister is God's voice to the people.

I don't think either Christians, nor ministers, overall today, really believe that.

I sometimes get recommendations when I ask people about good expository preachers, good experimental preachers, to listen to. They will tell me, "Yes, such and such, is a great expository preacher, etc., powerful, etc. You should listen to them." So on Sunday evenings my wife and I listen to sermons from people all over the world. At least, we give them a try. They get 5 minutes. If they are not knee deep into explaining the Scriptures, they get turned off. I find that 99% of them begin doing exactly what Burroughs tells them not to do. They are FILLED with stories and "stuff". Some of them don't even read the Scripture they are expounding! (I find that amazing.) And it's interesting, when you go back to read the Reformers and the Puritans, even Edwards' sermons, you just don't find them "helping out God's word" with long stories about their trip to the grocery store, or their dog, Spot.

In listening to these sermons and such, I don't think preachers today hold much in the way of gravity, seriousness and unction. They may not be thinking about it enough, or at all.

If we are going to have a new awakening today, i.e. a real Spirit-filled revival, its going to start with three things, generally speaking, I think (aside from God's ordained will) - I am speaking of constituted means:

1. The eminent piety of the minister.
2. The skill and seriousness of the minister in preaching (i.e. both hermeneutics and homiletics).
3. The people believing that when the minister preachers they are in fact hearing the word of God as God's voice. (Word turns to obedience before Christ.)

These are just a few random quotes from Burroughs to spur us on a bit....(just from sermon 8).

"And so you know what Christ says, “He that heareth you, heareth me.” ...it is the Son of God that is speaking to you, and this should challenge your attention."

"This day if you should hear a voice out of the clouds from heaven speaking to you, would you not then listen? The truth is, we should listen as much to the voice of God in the ministry of his word by the preacher, as if the Lord should speak out of the clouds to us. And I will give you a Scripture for that. The voice of God in his word should be as much regarded of you, as if God should speak from heaven to you by an audible voice out of the clouds. ...Suppose an angel should come and speak to you, would you not listen to him? Then whatever thoughts you had, they would be taken off, for there is an angel that has come down from heaven to speak. Now make note of what is said in Hebrews 1:1, “God who at sundry times, and in diverse manners spake in times past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by his Son, whom he has appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds.” And then in verse 3 he describes his Son, “And being made so much better than the angels, as he has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.” If a prophet should come and speak, that is not so much as if the Son of God comes, no, nor as if an angel should come, for Jesus Christ has obtained a more excellent Name than the angels, and it is Christ that is in the ministry of his word, “He that heareth you, heareth me.”

"Many times you will say, come, let us go hear such a man preach. O no, let us go hear Christ preach, for it concerns the ministers of God that they do not preach themselves, but that Christ should preach in them.”

"We [preachers] do not come to tell you tales, and the conceits of men, but to open the great counsels of God, in which the depth of the wisdom of God comes to be revealed to the children of men, and, therefore, this calls for attention."

"There must be a careful attention to the word, you must set your hearts to it, as Moses in Deut. 32:46. He said to the people, “Set your hearts to all the words which I testify among you this day, which you shall command your children to observe to do; for it is not a vain thing for you, because it is your life.” Set your hearts to it, for it is not a vain thing, it is your life."

"When you come to hear the word, if you would sanctify God’s Name, you must possess your souls with what it is that you are going to hear; that what you are to hear is the word of God. Possess your hearts with this consideration, that I come to hear the word as an ordinance appointed by God to convey spiritual good to my soul."

"Your souls and everlasting estates lie on the ministry of the word; if that is made effectual to you, you are saved. If that is not made effectual to you, you are damned and undone for ever."

"The application of the word to your heart is of marvelous use, and it concerns not only ministers in general, to lay before people the doctrine of the Gospel, but to apply it."

"And certainly, my brethren, until we come to do this as I have outlined to you, to believe the word in this way, though we should sit under it many years, it will do us little good, and we shall never sanctify the Name of God in hearing it."

Preachers and churches of people should consider these things, and much more.
 
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Cymro

Puritan Board Junior
Like you my wife and I listen to sermons on the Sabbath evening, and I am switching from one to another to find a soul satisfying ministry. But I have settled on listening to the Rev Kenneth Stewart of Glasgow RPC, who has a continuous consistent ministry, mixing the expository and experimental.
The truth of God speaking through His word, rather than the preacher, is by and large forgotten, and I was reminded by your post, of Heb12:25, “See that ye refuse not Him that speaketh. For if they escape not who refused Him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from Him that speaketh from heaven.”
 

C. Matthew McMahon

Christian Preacher
Like you my wife and I listen to sermons on the Sabbath evening, and I am switching from one to another to find a soul satisfying ministry. But I have settled on listening to the Rev Kenneth Stewart of Glasgow RPC, who has a continuous consistent ministry, mixing the expository and experimental.
The truth of God speaking through His word, rather than the preacher, is by and large forgotten, and I was reminded by your post, of Heb12:25, “See that ye refuse not Him that speaketh. For if they escape not who refused Him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from Him that speaketh from heaven.”
We will give him a listen! Looks like he preaches 45-55 minutes - refreshing!
 

C. M. Sheffield

Puritan Board Senior
People want preaching that savors more of the lecture hall than the house of God. This is what is thought to be truly "expository" to many. I am also annoyed by by the compulsion that so many contemporary preachers labor under to begin their sermons with anecdotes personal or otherwise. It is patronizing. It seems to suggest that those present to hear the preaching of God's word must first be cajoled into it with a clever story more or less related to the text. It is a waste of precious time.
 

C. Matthew McMahon

Christian Preacher
People want preaching that savors more of the lecture hall than the house of God. This is what is thought to be truly "expository" to many. I am also annoyed by by the compulsion that so many contemporary preachers labor under to begin their sermons with anecdotes personal or otherwise. It is patronizing. It seems to suggest that those present to hear the preaching of God's word must first be cajoled into it with a clever story more or less related to the text. It is a waste of precious time.
Yes, It's painful. We have 3750 sermons to hear in our life. That's 1 sermon a week for 70 years. That's ONLY if those sermons are stellar, and prepare me for heaven, and I hear well.
We have little time to waste. Seminaries need to get on the stick and stop teaching poor homiletics. Whole groups of people are being manufactured in the wrong way, with no tools, or bad tools. (i.e. the application outline sermon, etc.). The need to read van Mastricht's "The Best Method of Preaching", Perkins on "The Art of Faithful Preaching" and Vinet on Homiletics. Those should be standard texts for preaching, other than the books of Ezra, Nehemiah, 1 and 2 Timothy, etc.
 
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