| The Prideful Should Read Puritan Sermons|
Saints, I have been to the Puritan 'woodshed' many times with my Father. It is the most blessed place! God truly desires purity in his children, and I've found that this cleansing and heart-discerning school exists soley in the Word of God. The Holy Bible is the 'word' shed, and if you allow yourself to go there early each morning to wait on God's communion, your life will be staggered. Wait, saints, wait on the Lord with hearts free of deceit and condemnation. Cleanse your hearts and hands from the dirt of this world and wait upon God faithfully. In the early morning hours of darkness he will come, while the virgins slumber, and meet you and feed your soul in the covering of Christ's shed blood before the open pages of God's golden Book. - Brother Paul
"If we are ever prone to be proud of our Bible knowledge, we ought to open any volume of John Owen, Thomas Goodwin, or Thomas Brooks, note how some obscure passage in Nahum is quoted followed by a familiar passage from John -- both of which perfectly illustrate the point the writer is making -- and then compare our knowledge to theirs. How can we explain this marvelous -- for us, humbling -- grasp of Scripture other than that these [men] were ministers of the Word? These men obviously studied their Bibles daily, falling to their knees as God's Spirit burned the Word into their pastoral hearts.
Then, as they wrote or preached their evangelistic messages, one scriptural passage after another would come to mind. Our evangelistic efforts must be similarly grounded in the Bible. We must search the Scriptures more frequently and love the Word of God more fervently. As we learn to think, speak, and act more biblically, our messages will become more authoritative and our witness more effective and fruitful.
The Puritan preacher found his message in God's Word. "The faithful Minister, like unto Christ, is one that preacheth nothing but the word of God," said Puritan Edward Dering. John Owen agreed: "The first and principal duty of a pastor is to feed the flock by diligent preaching of the word." As Miller Maclure noted, "For the Puritans, the sermon is not just hinged to Scripture; it quite literally exists inside the Word of God; the text is not in the sermon, but the sermon is in the text. ... Put summarily, listening to a sermon is being in the Bible."
Puritan Richard Greenham suggested eight ways to read Scripture: with diligence, wisdom, preparation, meditation, conference, faith, practice, and prayer. Thomas Watson provided numerous guidelines on how to listen to the Word: Come to the Word with a holy appetite and a teachable heart. Sit under the Word attentively, receive it with meekness, and mingle it with faith. Then retain the Word, pray over it, practice it, and speak to others about it. "Dreadful is their case who go loaded with sermons to hell," Watson warned. By contrast, those who respond to Scripture as a "love letter sent to you from God" will experience its warming, transforming power. "Feed upon the Word," the Puritan preacher John Cotton exhorted his congregation.
Clearly, the Puritans sounded a clarion call to become intensely Word-centered in faith and practice. No wonder, then, that a typical page of a Puritan evangelistic sermon contains five to ten citations of biblical texts and about a dozen references to texts. Puritan preachers were conversant with their Bibles; they memorized hundreds, if not thousands, of texts. They knew what Scripture to cite for any concern. "Long and personal familiarity with the application of Scripture was a key element in the Puritan ministerial makeup," Sinclair Ferguson writes. "They pondered the riches of revealed truth the way a gemologist patiently examines the many faces of a diamond." They used Scripture wisely, bringing cited texts to bear on the doctrine or case of conscience at hand, all based on sound hermeneutical principles."
--Puritan Reformed Spirituality, Joel Beeke
Paul Frederick West
| 2006/10/12 12:51||Profile|
Santa Clara, CA
| Re: The Prideful Should Read Puritan Sermons|
Wait, saints, wait on the Lord with hearts free of deceit and condemnation. Cleanse your hearts and hands from the dirt of this world and wait upon God faithfully. In the early morning hours of darkness he will come, while the virgins slumber, and meet you and feed your soul in the covering of Christ's shed blood before the open pages of God's golden Book.
| 2006/10/12 16:43||Profile|
| Re: The Prideful Should Read Puritan Sermons|
Thanks, Brother Paul, for this exhortation, and for sharing this rich passagae from Joel Beeke. WOW!! Isn't it amazing how we are so content to eat from the husks of the pig sty when our Father has prepared a lavish banquet for us? We're so contented and yet we live so malnourished. I believe it is the cry of the Lord's heart as it was to Israel, "Come buy and eat, without money and without price and let your soul delight itself in fatness!" so many of us know the Word with our heads, but not our hearts, because we don't sit at the Master's feet. I recently heard Dr. Cho say, reading the Word is like raw rice, we need the Holy Spirit to come and "cook" the rice so that it can become edible. It must be ingested if it is to have any affect on us. If it's only in our minds, we're no better than the religious leaders of Jesus' day. It must become a fire in our bones and we must allow it to be the "engrafted Word" which is able to save our souls. Oh Lord, let it be so!!
| 2006/10/12 21:04||Profile|
"Pilgrim and Sojourner." - 1 Peter 2:11
I was sitting in a car with a brother that claimed a "sinless perfection" I began to play a audio recording of "the valley of vision" which are old puritan prayers, the brokeness and picture of the sinfulness of man and the holiness of God are brought to such a extreme that I cannot see any man sitting with a big prideful smile on his face thinking it does not apply to his life.
Here is where it can be obtained:
Click here for a audio sample:
I humble myself for faculties misused,
I repent of my folly and inconsiderate ways,
my broken resolutions, untrue service,
my backsliding steps,
my vain thoughts.
O bury my sins in the ocean of Jesus blood
and let no evil result from my fretful temper,
unseemly behaviour, provoking pettiness.
If by unkindness I have wounded or hurt another,
do thou pour in the balm of heavenly consolation;
If I have turned coldly from need, misery, grief,
do not in just anger forsake me:
If I have withheld relief from penury and pain,
do not withhold thy gracious bounty from me.
If I have shunned those who have offended me,
keep open the door of thy heart to my need."
SI Moderator - Greg Gordon
| 2006/10/12 22:01||Profile|