How do we apply the fact that Jesus made room in the Twelve for both Simon the Zealot and Matthew the Tax Collector? Certainly, it must remind us that Jesus’ invitation was to a wide and deep mercy in God. Simon, who was ready to take down the institutionalized, status quo, Roman occupation is at one end of the spectrum. On the other, Matthew earned his bread and maintained a social status feeding off of the very institution Simon was seeking to destroy. Both of them need salvation found in Christ alone.
So are these political opposites, with the application being Jesus calls neo-socialists as well as fascists? Democrats and Republicans? Or does Rome function more as an icon of the passing-away-world, and not politics per se? In this case, Simon is the ascetic, jihadist, fundamentalist; Matthew the cosmopolitan, worldly promoter of any/every zeitgeist. Or is there some other taxonomy that these two disciples map on to?
There's interesting piece to be done about plagiarism at diff. career stages: young and on-the-make v. established and assistant-dependent.—
Ross Douthat (@DouthatNYT) August 10, 2012
e.g., Lehrer/Stephen Glass/Ruth Shalit v. Zakaria/Doris Kearns Goodwin—
Ross Douthat (@DouthatNYT) August 10, 2012
Plagiarism is an important issue for pastors to think over as well, it might be worthwhile for ministers to consider this issue. Especially since I would expect the temptation for a young pastor – struggling to get his sermon done and in awe of “celebrity pastors” – might look very different for an established veteran preacher – wanting to cull the best of borrowed sayings and sources over a long career.
One of the things a pastor and a congregation spend a lot of time on together is the sermon that is preached every Lord’s Day in the worship service. The minister spends time preparing and delivering the message, and the congregation spends time hearing it and living their lives based off of it. But have you ever thought about how to hear a sermon? How can we obey Jesus’ command to “be careful how you hear” (Luke 8:18)? Consider a few ideas with me:
- Believers should prepare themselves to hear. The Apostle Peter commands that we “desire the sincere milk of the Word like newborn babies,” and that one of the ways we prepare that spiritual “thirst” within us for God’s Word is by laying aside all sin (I Peter 2:1 – 2). Sin acts like wax in our ears, and keeps us from hearing the life-giving words we so desperately need. Do not allow Saturday night – or the week before Sunday – as an opportunity for sin, but instead lay aside sin by faith and focus on “thirsting” to hear from the Lord in the sermon.
- Believers should prepare through prayer. One of the best ways to create this spiritual thirst in preparing is through prayer. We say with the psalmist, “Lord, open my eyes, that I would behold wondrous things out of Your Law in the sermon this Sunday” (cf. Psalm 119:18). Ask God to reveal to you His will for your life in the sermon; do it every Sunday! The Apostle Paul asked the Ephesians to pray for him as he preached, and to do so constantly (Ephesians 6:18 – 19). We should pray this way for our Sunday school teachers, Bible study leaders, and especially our ministers and elders.
- Believers should test the sermon against God’s Word. Paul praised the Bereans because they “searched the Scriptures daily” to see if Paul’s message lined up with Scripture (Acts 17:11). As Christians, we are to “test everything; hold fast what is good” (I Thessalonians 5:21). Ministers must not preach on their favorite topics, heart-warming stories, practical advice for better living, politics, or anything else – but only what the Lord says in Holy Scripture. A congregation can hold their minister accountable by carefully testing what he says.
- Believers should receive the sermon in a godly attitude. Continue reading
Last December my grandfather died, and I had the privilege of explaining the Scriptures for the service. The funeral was held at Bethel Ev. Free Church in Fairmont, MN. My sermon text was Psalm 37:23 – 24:
The steps of a man are established by the LORD,
when he delights in his way;
though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong,
for the LORD upholds his hand.
You can find the video on the sermon page at the bottom.
The following article by Samuel Miller was made available by Presbyterian Heritage Publications. As the website hosting this article expired, I’ve copied it here. The archived webpage may be accessed here.
This sermon was published under the title of The Duty of the Church to Take Measures for Providing an Able and Faithful Ministry, included in a larger publication, The Sermon, Delivered at the Inauguration of the Rev. Archibald Alexander, D.D. Professor of Didactic and Polemic Theology, in the Theological Seminary of the Presbyterian Church, in the United States of America: to Which are Added, the Professor’s Inauguration Address, and the Charge to the Professor and Students (New York: Whiting and Watson, 1812).
Copyright © 1987 by
Presbyterian Heritage Publications
Second Edition, 1994
The electronic version of this document has been provided as a convenience for our readers. No part of this publication may be transmitted or distributed in any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical photocopying, or otherwise) without prior permission of the publisher. Inquiries may be directed to: Presbyterian Heritage Publications, P.O. Box 180922, Dallas, Texas 75218, U.S.A. Please write to the publisher for more details about our other publications.
An Able and Faithful Ministry
“And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.”
2 Timothy 2:2
The apostle Paul received both his knowledge of the gospel, and his commission to preach it, immediately from the great Head of the church. Yet, notwithstanding the extraordinary circumstances which attended his theological instruction, and his official investiture, that “all things might be done decently and in order” (cf. 1 Cor. 14:40), he submitted to “the laying on of the hands of the presbytery” (1 Tim. 4:14; cf. Acts 13:3), before he went forth on his great mission to the Gentiles. In like manner, Timothy, his “own son in the faith” (1 Tim. 1:2), to whom the exhortation before us is addressed, was set apart to the work of the holy ministry, by the presbytery, in which body, on that occasion, the apostle himself seems to have presided (cf. 2 Tim. 1:6).
Timothy was now at Ephesus; and being the most active and influential member of the presbytery which was constituted in that part of the church, his spiritual father directed to him, as such (and in him to the church in all succeeding times), the rules and instructions contained in the epistles which bear his name. Among these we find the passage which has just been read: “And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also” (cf. 2 Tim. 1:6) Continue reading
When I first read these, I was surprised to see nothing about “Christ-centered,” “redemptive historical,” etc. Now, I would suggest that Dabney is getting more at preaching method than content. Thoughts? Without further ado, then, the 7 “cardinal requisites:”
1. Textual Fidelity
“Since the mind of God is disclosed in Scripture, the sermon must be entirely faithful to the text-a genuine exposition of the particular thought of a particular text.”
“Unity requires two things. The speaker must, first, have one main subject of discourse, to which he adheres with supreme reference throughout. But this is not enough. He must, second, propose to himself one definite impression on the hearer’s soul, to the making of which everything in the sermon is bent.” Continue reading