Archive for September, 2009


How Much Time to Prepare?

September 28, 2009

I like Ligon Duncan’s answer.

ligon Duncan

I particularly appreciate his explanation of his order of priorities, if he has a very limited amount of time.

  1. Exegesis
  2. Application
  3. Illustrations, introduction, conclusion

Advice for Expository Preachers

September 27, 2009

Andrew Sherwood’s notes – from Mark Dever’s talk at the God Exposed Conference:

Advice for Expositional Preaching:

1) Normally, preach consecutively through parts of the Bible.

2) Good expositional preaching is canonical (through the whole Bible). See Acts 20. He also took us to I Samuel (listen to this talk for this section alone) where Samuel and Eli speak about God’s Word coming to Samuel. Perhaps the most powerful few minutes of the whole conference.

3) Good expositional is connected. Show how it fits with the whole message of the Bible.

4) It should be centered on the Gospel.

5) It is theological.

6) It is critical. It instructs about and criticizes idols. Don’t always preach nice and happy. Think of Jesus’ ministry.

7) It is evangelistic. Distinct from #4. As you preach, don’t shy away from talking about sin and the need for Christ. Teach people to take their hopes off of themselves and put it on Christ. Speak to non-Christians in your sermons.

8 ) It is applied. Do not think that application is only the Holy Spirit’s work. Our whole lives are to be transformed.

9) It is integrated (work it into your life). Read what is being preached on in your quiet time, prepare your heart for it. Teach your congregation to prepare for the sermon. It is the highlight of their week!


Thought Provoking Questions

September 27, 2009

James McDonald is asking some good questions about expository preaching:

  • 1) How do you make repetition interesting and engaging?
  • 2) Do you need to handle everything sequentially or can you group sections by topic?
  • 3) Why do so many commentaries seem to need to report significance beyond the obvious understanding gained by knowing what the text actually says?
  • 4) How much text is too much to cover in one weekend? How much depth do you go into?

Evangelistic Preaching: Spurgeon’s Way

September 23, 2009

Jonathan Watson (General Editor of the Banner of Truth) has put together an insightful paper which brings together Spurgeon’s thoughts on how to preach appropriately to unbelievers.  You can read the full article over at Reformation Theology: Spurgeon on the Goal of Preaching. The bare-bones outline: 

1. Depend entirely upon the Spirit of God and look to him for power over the minds of men.


2. Give prominent place in your preaching to those truths which are most likely to lead to conversions.

a. First and foremost Christ and him crucified. ‘

b. Teach the depravity of human nature.

c. Preach the necessity for the Holy Ghost’s divine operations.

d. Set before your hearers God’s justice and the certainty that every transgression will be punished.

e. Be most of all clear on the soul-saving doctrine of the atonement.

f. ‘If men are to be saved we must in plainest terms preach justification by faith alone, as the method by which the atonement becomes effectual in the soul’s experience . . . Justification by faith alone must never be obscured, and yet all are not clear upon it.’

g. Preach earnestly the love of God in Christ, and magnify the abounding mercy of the Lord; but always preach it in connection with his justice.


3. If we are anxious to see souls saved, we must not only preach the truths which are likely to lead to their conversion, but we must also use modes of handling these truths which are appropriate for securing that end.

a. Instruct.

b. Appeal to the understanding.

c. Plead with sinners by way of emotional persuasion.

d. Be careful to vary your tone – at times you need to threaten, at times to invite.


4. Think carefully about the times when you address the unconverted.

5. Among the important elements in the promotion of conversions are the preacher’s own tone, temper and spirit in preaching.

a. Don’t be dull and monotonous

b. Guard against a hard, unfeeling spirit in preaching.

c. Preach believingly, always expecting the Lord who has sent you to bless his own word.

d. ‘Preach very solemnly, for it is a weighty business, but let your matter be lively and pleasing, for this will prevent solemnity from souring into dreariness.’

e. Aim for conversions, expect them and prepare for them.


6. In addition to earnest preaching it will be wise to use other means. These may include:

a. Pastoral visitation – make yourself available to and converse with all your people

b. Special meetings for the awakened and anxious with a view to further instruction, prayer, and the sharing of testimonies by recent converts.

c. ‘Seek out the wandering sheep one by one, and when you find all your thoughts needed for a single individual, do not grudge your labour, for your Lord in his parable represents the good shepherd as bringing home his lost sheep, not in a flock, but one at a time upon his shoulders, and rejoicing to do so.’

d. ‘Call in every now and then a warm-hearted neighbour, utilize the talent in the church itself, and procure the services of some eminent soul-winner, and this may, in God’s hands, break up the hard soil for you, and bring you brighter days.’


MacArthur On Spurgeon

September 21, 2009


September 21, 2009

Some good suggestions by Joe McKeever about how to read through the Scriptures we are studying, and a novel suggestion about writing out Scripture texts. I particularly liked this quote:

Let it soak in. You can’t rush this. Proper sermon-building is more about marinating than microwaving.

His whole article: Before the Sermon Preparation Begins.


10 Question Comeback

September 18, 2009

10 Questions for Pastor’s wives returns over at Titus2talk, this time interviewing Mae Milton (the wife of Mike Milton, RTS).

A sample question: What one piece of advice would you pass on to a new pastor’s wife?

Be yourself. If you love to cook, feed people in your home. If you love children, work with them. Old people, work with them. Use the gifts the Lord has given you. But, your most important mission is to take care of your husband, because if you don’t take care of him, he won’t be able to take care of his flock.