I believe God is speaking much to pastors and teachers to experience a new power and conviction in their preaching. Do we really believe, "Apart from me, you can do nothing"? Do we really believe "No one comes to me unless the Father draws him"?
How earnestly have we prayed this week, seeking help for our unbelief and asking God to open the ears, minds, and hearts of our people? What is the purpose of your ministry? Are those purposes worth your diligent effort? May God enable us through hard work to use our shallow brains to understand and communicate His eternal truths. "As the pastor so the people!" take heed to thy flock under your care.
I have released a new issue of the OLD PATHS: Issue No.8 - October with a featured article by James Caughey: Should We Not Weep?. I encourage you to download and print many copies and freely share it with friends.
Here are some good materials to review and respond to in the forums:
Feeding Sheep or Amusing Goats -spurgeon
The Revival We Need -dixon
THE NEW BIRTH -wesley
The Podcast has been updated with 11 new sermons, so I encourage you to download them or subscribe for the first time here: SermonIndex.net Podcast (requires itunes software). Do also leave a feedback comment on the podcast page to help with the rankings, I am hoping to get the podcast listed amongst the top podcasts in the itunes directory.
Featured Sermon - A Call to AnguishWilkerson in this message gives out a call for all Believers to allow the anguish of God's heart for His Church and the world, into their own. Be prepared to be stirred by the Holy Spirit. You will truly never be the same!
Has this sermon impacted your life? share what you think: Add a Comment.
Reason and Zeal for Drowsy Sinners
by Richard Baxter.
If we were heartily devoted to our work, it would be done more vigorously, and more seriously, than it is by the most of us. How few ministers do preach with all their might, or speak about everlasting joys and everlasting torments in such a manner as may make men believe that they are in good earnest! It would make a man's heart ache, to see a company of dead, drowsy sinners sitting under a minister, and not hear a word that is likely to quicken or awaken them. Alas! we speak so drowsily and so softly, that sleepy sinners cannot hear. The blow falls so light that hard-hearted sinners cannot feel. The most of ministers will not so much as exert their voice, and stir up themselves to an earnest utterance. But if they do speak loud and earnestly, how few do answer it with weight and earnestness of matter! And yet without this, the voice doth little good; the people will esteem it but mere bawling, when the matter doth not correspond. It would grieve one to the heart to hear what excellent doctrine some ministers have in hand, while yet they let it die in their hands for want of close and lively application; what fit matter they have for convincing sinners, and how little they make of it; what good they might do if they would set it home, and yet they cannot or will not do it.
O sirs, how plainly, how closely, how earnestly, should we deliver a message of such moment as ours, when the everlasting life or everlasting death of our fellow-men is involved in it! Methinks we are in nothing so wanting as in this seriousness; yet is there nothing more unsuitable to such a business, than to be slight and dull. What! speak coldly for God, and for men's salvation? Can we believe that our people must be converted or condemned, and yet speak in a drowsy tone? In the name of God, brethren, labor to awaken your own hearts, before you go to the pulpit, that you may be fit to awaken the hearts of sinners. Remember they must be awakened or damned, and that a sleepy preacher will hardly awaken drowsy sinners. Though you give the holy things of God the highest praises in words, yet, if you do it coldly, you will seem by your manner to unsay what you said in the matter. It is a kind of contempt of great things, especially of so great things, to speak of them without much affection and fervency. The manner, as well as the words, must set them forth. If we are commanded, 'Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with all thy might,' then certainly such a work as preaching for men's salvation should be done with all our might. But, alas, how few in number are such men! It is only here and there, even among good ministers, that we find one who has an earnest, persuasive, powerful way of speaking, that the people can feel him preach when they hear him.
Speak to your people as to men that must be awakened, either here or in hell. Look around upon them with the eye of faith, and with compassion, and think in what a state of joy or torment they must all be for ever; and then, methinks, it will make you earnest, and melt your heart to a sense of their condition. Oh, speak not one cold or careless word about so great a business as heaven or hell. Whatever you do, let the people see that you are in good earnest. . . . You cannot break men's hearts by jesting with them, or telling them a smooth tale, or pronouncing a gaudy oration. Men will not cast away their dearest pleasures at the drowsy request of one that seemeth not to mean as he speaks, or to care much whether his request be granted or not.
As we have reasonable creatures to deal with, and as they abuse their reason against the truth, we must see that our sermons be all convincing, and that we make the light of Scripture and Reason shine so bright in the faces of the ungodly, that it may even force them to see, unless they wilfully shut their eyes. A sermon full of mere words, how neatly soever it be composed, while it wants the light of evidence, and the life of zeal, is but an image or a well-dressed carcass.
In preaching, there is a communion of souls, and a communication of somewhat from ours to theirs. As we and they have understandings and wills and affections, so must the bent of our endeavors be to communicate the fullest light of evidence from our understandings to theirs, and to warm their hearts, by kindling in them holy affections as by a communication from our own. The great things which we have to commend to our hearers have reason enough on their side, and lie plain before them in the Word of God. We should, therefore, be furnished with all kind of evidence, so that we may come as with a torrent upon their understandings, and with our reasonings and expostulations to pour shame upon all their vain objections, and bear down all before us, that they may be forced to yield to the power of truth.
To read the entire sermon go here: Reason and Zeal for Drowsy Sinners.
Quotes on Revival - Hudson Taylor
"I myself, for instance, am not especially gifted, and am shy by nature, but my gracious and merciful God and Father inclined Himself to me, and when I was weak in faith He strengthened me while I was still young. He taught me in my helplessness to rest on Him, and to pray even about little things in which another might have felt able to help himself."
"Do we give sufficient attention to the theme of gaining Christ? It is our joy and privilege to know Him as God's unspeakable gift, but none knew this more fully than the apostle Paul. But was he satisfied with this knowledge? Or was Paul's soul-consuming desire, at all possible cost, to gain Christ; and thus to know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings? Oh that Christ may be so known by us as a 'living, bright reality' that our one desire-our one absorbing heart-passion may be that we personally gain Christ-that we personally know Him as the apostle longed to do."
"I have seen many men work without praying, though I have never seen any good come out of it; but I have never seen a man pray without working."
"Perhaps if there were more of that intense distress for souls that leads to tears, we should more frequently see the results we desire. Sometimes it may be that while we are complaining of the hardness of the hearts of those we are seeking to benefit, the hardness of our own hearts and our feeble apprehension of the solemn reality of eternal things may be the true cause of our want of success."
SI Moderator - Greg Gordon