“My chief desire should be . . . to be a man of prayer, for there is no want of speaking and writing and preaching and teaching and warning, but there is need of the Holy Spirit to make all this effectual.”
~ Andrew Bonar
Prayer Life Pause: Dear Lord, may I bathe all my ministry in prayer that You would be pleased to add Your blessed effectual grace to all that I do. In Jesus’ name, amen.
“What skill doth every part of our [the preacher’s] work require! – and of how much moment is every part! To preach a sermon, I think, is not the hardest part; and yet what skill is necessary to make the truth plain; to convince the hearers, to let irresistible light in to their consciences, and to keep it there, and drive all home; to screw the truth into their minds, and work Christ into their affections; to meet every objection, and clearly to resolve it; to drive sinners to a stand, and make them see that there is no hope, but that they must unavoidably either be converted or condemned – and to do all this, as regards language and manner, as beseems our work, and yet as is most suitable to the capacities of our hearers. This, and a great deal more that should be done in every sermon, must surely require a great deal of holy skill.”
~ Richard Baxter (1615-1691)
“Some people do not like to hear much of repentance; but I think it is so necessary that if I should die in the pulpit, I would desire to die preaching repentance, and if out of the pulpit I would desire to die practicing it.”
~ Matthew Henry (1662-1714)
“For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.”
~ 1 Corinthians 2:2 (NKJV)
“There is a peculiar beauty in the Apostle’s expression, not only to preach Christ, but Christ crucified. There were a thousand excellencies in Christ Paul had learnt, and on which he had often dwelt, with holy rapture. But the cross included all. There Paul fixed his eye, his heart, his whole soul. And, what he felt so truly blessed, to himself, he longed to communicate to all the Lord’s people. Christ crucified, was peculiarly suited, to poor sinful men. It was worthy of all acceptation! Reader! how little do those men know of the plague of their own heart, who preach aught beside!”
~ Hawker’s Poor Man’s Commentary
“I have sometimes heard of ministers that have been quite exhausted by the preparation of a single sermon for the Sunday. I am told, indeed, that one sermon on a Sunday is as much as any man can possibly prepare. It is such laborious work to elaborate a sermon. And then I say to myself, ‘Did my Lord and Master require his servants to preach such sermons as that?’ Is it not probable that they would do a great deal more good, if they never tried to do any such fine things, but just talked out of their hearts of the simplest truths of his blessed gospel.”
~ Charles Spurgeon (1834-1892)
It is an obvious error for all to see in those ministers of the Church who make such a wide gulf between their preaching and their living. They will study hard, to preach exactly, and yet study little or not at all to live exactly. All the week long is little enough to study how to speak for two hours; and yet one hour seems too much time to study how to live all the week. They are loath to misplace a word in their sermons; yet they think nothing of misplacing affections, words, and actions in the course of their lives. Oh, how curiously I have heard some men preach, and how carelessly have I seen them live!
~ Richard Baxter (1615-1691)