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.
One concept that is so helpful to have when considering how to exhort God’s people from God’s Word is that our preaching must be Christ-centered. The idea that Scripture isn’t just a book of timeless truths, morality plays, or helpful advice for living, but is instead one grand narrative displaying the promise of, the coming of, and the rule of the Messiah Jesus, has been thoroughly covered by men much better than I, most notably Ed Clowney, Sidney Greidanus, Dennis Johnson, and Graeme Goldsworthy. Their articles and books are most helpful. But occasionally, just having a handy chart around can jog your mind in the specifics.
The above chart can be downloaded here. It is a rough adaption of what Dennis Johnson adapted from Ed Clowney. I’ll try to briefly explain what the chart says, as well as how to use it below. Continue reading →
On August 24, 1572, one of the more tragic events occurred in the wars of religion throughout France. Especially within Paris, France, tensions between the Papist Parisians (the majority) and the French nobility and laity that held to the Reformed faith – referred to as Huguenots – were at a premium. After a failed assassination attempt on Admiral de Coligny, a noted Reformed Christian, on August 22, the animosity reached an all time high.
The Huguenot Cross
Catherine de Medici was the queen mother, and by urging her son Charles IX that Reformed Huguenots were a political threat to the stability of Paris and France, de Coligny was assassinated just before dawn on August 24. Following his death, rioting broke out in Paris, which then swept through the country, where neighbor turned on neighbor, and the Catholic majority looted and murdered their Reformed countrymen in a tragic event for the Reformed faith. Continue reading →
Two short-ish videos on the need for men to stand up in today’s
A promo for Patrick’s book, he points out the need for men to stand up and lead in the local church.
Dr. Ryken, former minister of Tenth Presbyterian Church and president of Wheaton College, notes the missing men in the higher education scene and the need for men to develop the life of the mind.
Despite very different topics, both videos mention one potential cause for the lack of gifted men today: video games. Beware losing yourself to virtual reality, only to truly lose at the game of life in real reality.
Sometimes you run out of room or time in your Lord’s Day sermon, and so “Monday Morning Pulpit” is a chance to expand upon or reinforce ideas you didn’t have a chance to finish during the sermon.
We wrapped up a short, topical series on God’s Judgments and Judging at Zion Ev. & Reformed Church. Especially in the second sermon in the series, we looked at what it means for God to Judge of all the earth (Genesis 18:25; Psalm 50:1 – 6). After demonstrating his judgments in Creation by issuing divine decrees on His own handiwork (“it was good,” “it was very good”) God shows His just judgments in salvation history. God’s judgment climaxes in condemning our sin at the cross, and vindicating Christ at His resurrection (Romans 4:25; I Timothy 3:16), and thus pronouncing us to be justified by faith in Christ (Romans 8:1).