Tag Archive | Preaching

Steve Lawson – The Preaching of John Calvin and What We Can Learn

John Calvin

Calvin chiefly was a preacher. Shepherded a flock for 25 years.

Prince of Preachers Charles Spurgeon respected Calvin as one of the greatest men born of a woman.

Calvin is remembered as a theologian uncovering doctrines that had been buried for centuries. Yet Calvin saw himself as a shepherd called to preach the Word to his flock.

1) Authority of Biblical Truth – Sola Scriptura

Calvin believed the minister’s chief mandate is to preach God’s Word. The preacher has nothing to say apart from the words of God. We need fewer preachers, but we need more real preachers. No room for fantasy and imagination. Preacher is the dispatched messenger. Bring not their own inventions. Merely the delivery boy. Humility characterized his ministry. The Message of Scripture is Sovereign. We owe the Scripture the same reverence that we owe to God. When the Bible speaks, God speaks. Boice said “Calvin had no weapon but the Bible.”

2) Priority of Sequential Exposition

Calvin preached verse by verse, book by book. NT Sunday mornings, NT & Psalms Sunday afternoon, then every weekday morning he taught through the OT. Example: Acts – 189 sermons; Isaiah – 353 continuous sermons. After being run away from Geneva for 3 1/2 years, upon his return, he resumed his preaching at the very next verse that he had left off. Make your meat and potatoes be the sequential exposition of books of the Bible.

3) Accuracy of Sound Exegesis

Plain, literal interpretation of the text. John Murray “Calvin was the Exegete of the Reformation.” He preached from the Hebrew and the Greek. He preached in French and lectured in Latin. Not eisegesis but exegesis. Real estate – location, location, location. Bible Study – context, context, context. Calvin said “The scripture should be understood and explained. How it is explained is secondary.” MacArthur said “The meaning of the text is the text.” All true interpretation requires much perspiration. You will give an account for every sermon before God.

4) Energy of Lively Preaching

He preached with no notes. He used just the Bible. He was so fluent with the Bible that he could flow. It is a sin to bore people with the Word of God. Bore people with Shakespeare, not with the Bible. Lecturers in the pulpit is not preaching. Dig it out and write it down, but don’t lecture. Calvin was not a hyper-Calvinist! Be accurate and precise with the Word of God. No fluff, no waste. His every word was to the point. Every word weighed a pound. Not like preachers circling the airport but never landing. He had a short porch to a big house. No big introduction but right to the point. He puts the cookies on the bottom shelf. Sentences are simple, making the text as clear as possible to his hearers. No flourish in his words. Calvin “Preachers are like fathers, dividing the bread into small pieces to feed the his children.” Don’t choke and gag your people. Painting mental pictures using analogies, similes, word pictures, and metaphors. Used personal pronouns us and we.

5) Necessity of Gospel Defense

One voice for the sheep and the other for the wolves. Guard the gospel.

6) Fervency of Evangelistic Preaching

Calling people to repentance and faith.


Expositors’ Conference 2011

Expositors’ Conference 2011

The conference will be held at Christ Fellowship Baptist Church in Mobile, Alabama. The conference will be September 26-27, 2011.

Speakers are Steven Lawson and Al Mohler.

The central theme in expository preaching must always be the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the supreme subject of all Scripture, the very object of our faith. No pulpit can rise any higher than its clarion presentation of the preeminence of Christ. He must be the Alpha and Omega of every sermon, the sum and substance of every message. As the apostle Paul boldly asserted: “we preach Christ and Him crucified.” In this conference, Drs. R. Albert Mohler and Steven J. Lawson will draw our focus to biblical preaching that is Christ-centered and Christ-exalting.

Our goal is to ignite a renewed passion for the supreme worth and unsurpassed glory of Jesus Christ in our exposition of Scripture. In each session, we will be challenging expositors to hold forth an awe-inspiring view of the glorious person and perfect work of Jesus Christ. When the absolute preeminence of Christ is once again recovered in contemporary preaching, God will be glorified, Christ will be treasured, souls will be saved, and saints will be edified. Come and join us on September 26-27, 2011 as we seek to restore the life-changing preaching of the preeminence of Jesus Christ.


Feed My Sheep: A Passionate Plea for Preaching [Kindle Edition]

Feed My Sheep: A Passionate Plea for Preaching [Kindle Edition]


R. Albert Mohler Jr.,

James Montgomery Boice,

Derek W. H. Thomas,

Joel R. Beeke,

R. C. Sproul,

R. C. Sproul Jr.,

Sinclair B. Ferguson,

Don Kistler,

Eric J. Alexander,

John Piper,

John MacArthur

In the Old Testament, God decried the fact that His people were perishing for lack of knowledge about Him. The same seems to be occurring today. There is sharing, suggesting, plenty of storytelling, and lots of preaching to felt needs in modern pulpits. But the authoritative, expositional opening of the Word of God is becoming scarcer all the time.

{The free kindle books are available a short time, they are done sorta like a sale and end quickly so you can’t wait a couple of days to “purchase” the free book. If you don’t actually have a kindle you can get the Kindle for PC which will allow you to read kindle books for free.  There are also kindle versions for a blackberry and for an iPhone.}


Expositors Conference – Session 1 – Preaching the Glory of God (Steven Lawson)

Berean Husband is blogging almost live again this year from the 2010 Expositor’s Conference at Christ Fellowship Baptist Church in Mobile, Alabama. This is the second year I have attended this conference. Last year the speakers were Steve Lawson (pastor of Christ Fellowship) and Joel Beeke, noted author on the Puritans. This year the speakers are Steve Lawson and R.C. Sproul. This is the only conference Dr. Sproul is doing outside of Florida this year. Session 1 begins in about five minutes. The attendance this year is excellent. There was no parking left in the parking lot and there are probably 350 to 400 here in the sanctuary.  The give-away bag is excellent this year. There are five full-length books, including Sproul’s new book on the Gospel of John. I almost ordered this book a few weeks ago…glad I waited.  The theme of this year’s conference is “The Glory of God in Preaching.” The conference guide says that the conference audio will be available shortly after the end of the conference at www. Christfellowship.cc. Sermonaudio is also live video webcasting the conference. Check for a link on the homepage. The conference begins with some congregational singing and a choir anthem.

Session 1 – Preaching the Glory of God (Steven Lawson)

The text for session 1 is from 1 Peter 4:10-11. These verses instruct us that those who God calls to preach have been gifted to preach the word of God. Therefore, every preacher must be a good steward of this gift of preaching. There will be accountability for this stewardship. The chief end of this stewardship is the glory of God.

1. The gift of preaching. Every believer is given a gift. The gift is to be employed in serving one another. The gift is solely from the grace of God and not based on natural ability. In verse 11 we see two categories of these gifts: speaking and serving. The gift of speaking involves both teaching and preaching. Preaching includes teaching and something more. The “more” is the public proclamation of the word of God. Preaching is accompanied by extraordinary power (c.f. the power of the preaching of Paul and Peter).  Paul tells Timothy in 2 Timothy 1:6 that this gift of preaching must be fanned into a flame. There is no room for timidity in preaching.

2. The gravity of preaching. Preaching is a sacred call. Verse 11 calls our preaching the speaking of the oracles of God. That is, God’s words spoken through the preacher. We cannot take any part of ourselves into the pulpit. The words must be all God’s words, none of ours. The preacher should have nothing to say apart from the word of God. The preacher must be under the authority of the word of God. More so, when the preacher is preaching the word of God, it is as if God himself is present in the midst of the congregation. The gravity of preaching also arises from the fact that the preacher is a steward. The word of God is entrusted to the preacher to use it wisely for the glory of the master. The steward acts on behalf of the master with the best interest of the master in heart. See 1 Corinthians 4:1-5. The steward will be accountable to be faithful with the gift of preaching. And this accountability is not to man, but to God. We are not even accountable to ourselves. Also see 1 Corinthians 3:10-15. The preacher must skillfully lay the foundation of Jesus Christ. So many preachers are busily and skillfully laying a foundation, but the foundation is not Jesus Christ. And so many preachers are busily and skillfully building on the foundation, but are using hay and stubble. All these works will be tested by fire. A handful of gold is worth far, far more than a truckload of hay. We will not know who are the really great preachers until we see what remains after the work has been tested by fire. And see 1 Corinthians 9:24-27. We must give our all in order to win the prize at the end of the race. So many preachers are running aimlessly with no goal, and the punches that they throw don’t count, don’t make a difference. We must also make sure that we live in the same manner as we preach to others to live.

3. The goal of preaching. The goal of preaching is that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. We are to glorify God in our preaching and lead others to give glory to God through what they hear preaching. We need to take care that we receive no glory from what we preach. The gift of preaching that God has given to a person is to end that God himself may be glorified.

I would recommend that anyone who thinks that they have been called to preach should listen to this sermon, particularly the part about the gravity of preaching. How often do we build with hay and stubble when we have the chance to build with gold and silver?


Is Christ In It?

A young man had been preaching in the presence of a venerable divine, and after he had done he went to the old minister, and said, “What do you think of my sermon?” “A very poor sermon indeed,” said he. “A poor sermon?” said the young man, “it took me a long time to study it.” “Ay, no doubt of it.” “Why, did you not think my explanation of the text a very good one?” “Oh, yes,” said the old preacher, “very good indeed.” “Well, then, why do you say it is a poor sermon? Didn’t you think the metaphors were appropriate and the arguments conclusive?” “Yes, they were very good as far as that goes, but still it was a very poor sermon.” “Will you tell me why you think it a poor sermon?” “Because,” said he, “there was no Christ in it.” “Well,” said the young man, “Christ was not in the text; we are not to be preaching Christ always, we must preach what is in the text.” So the old man said, “Don’t you know young man that from every town, and every village, and every little hamlet in England, wherever it may be, there is a road to London?” “Yes,” said the young man. “Ah!” said the old divine “and so from every text in Scripture, there is a road to the metropolis of the Scriptures, that is Christ. And my dear brother, your business is when you get to a text, to say, ‘Now what is the road to Christ?’ and then preach a sermon, running along the road towards the great metropolis—Christ. And,” said he, “I have never yet found a text that had not got a road to Christ in it, and if I ever do find one that has not a road to Christ in it, I will make one; I will go over hedge and ditch but I would get at my Master, for the sermon cannot do any good unless there is a savour of Christ in it.”


Charles Spurgeon from “Christ Precious To Believers“,

preached March 13th, 1859


Dr. Michael Haykin – Missionary Pioneer Andrew Fuller and Hyper-Calvinism

The eighth session of the True Church Conference 2010 was given by Dr. Michael Haykin, discussing Andrew Fuller. Andrew Fuller was a missionary pioneer and a critic of hyper-Calvinism. Andrew Fuller was a Baptist in England. Haykin’s text was Psalm 2:1-12. How did Andrew Fuller counter the hyper-Calvinism that was present in the Baptist churches of his day?

William Carey in India received help from those who were in England, in America, and in India. Fuller “held the ropes” for Carey. Fuller tied the Baptist theological heritage of the 18th century with the Baptist evangelical movement of the 19th century. Fuller was early on exposed to hyper-Calvinism by his first pastor. He had not seen a baptism by the age of 16 even though he was a Baptist. But then he was exposed to the writings of John Bunyan and realized that he was lost and undone. He had spiritual experiences (such as an experience with Romans 6:14), but was not converted. This went on for almost three years. Fuller cast his soul on Jesus Christ in 1769 just like Esther – “If I perish, I perish.”

Fuller was called into the pastorate six years later. He read Gill and he read the Puritans. He saw the Puritans preach on evangelism, but he did not see this in Gill. He decided Gill was right and the Puritans were wrong. But then he was convicted by the scriptures and the calls to believe found therein. He came to believe that the gospel was to be preached to all men within hearing.

Fuller moved on to Kettering, which was the home church of John Gill. Here he published a book which emphasized the command for unconverted sinners to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ – The Gospel of Christ is Worthy of All Acceptation. In this he took on the beliefs of John Gill. Jesus indiscriminately called the lost to believe in Him.

The preaching of the gospel must passionately exhort unbelievers to believe in Jesus Christ. Baptist churches were lethargic at best in proclaiming the gospel message. He was instrumental in the formation of the Baptist Missionary Society. He added a mark of the Baptist church – a Baptist church is a church which is mission-minded.

Fuller was a man of theological balance. He was a missionary theologian. He was an upholder of the doctrines of grace. He had the ability to sustain long-lasting friendships. Even though he was forthright in telling people his thoughts, he took censure without offense and he gave censure without offense. Fuller built his life upon the word of God.


Conrad Mbewe – Loving Sinners

The fifth session of True Church Conference 2010 was presented by Conrad Mbewe of Zambia, Africa. Mbewe is known as the “African Spurgeon.” Mbewe’s sermon was on Loving Sinners. His text was Luke 19:41-44.

An argument of hyper-Calvinism in regards to evangelistic preaching is that preaching should be directed only to the regenerated person. The book of Acts shows this is not the case. Sermons in the book of Acts were directed to unbelievers. Hyper-Calvinism locks you away from loving sinners the way Jesus did.

The context of the text is following Palm Sunday and the excitement that that entailed. The people were praising God. It was the triumphal entry of Jesus. But instead of being joyful, Jesus weeps over Jerusalem. Why? Because Jesus saw the destruction that lay in the future of the city.

Points from the passage:

1. If you love sinners the way God loves them then it will move you into evangelism because they are ignorant of what it takes to bring peace with God (verse 42a).

a. This was the season when the Son of God was on earth, but the people did not realize it. They were chasing after things which could not satisfy.

b. The people were busy practicing the externals of religion with no change of heart.

c. Jesus spent His time with sinners. We concentrate on inward programs but have lost sight of those on the outside who need Christ’s love.

2. If you love sinners the way God loves them, then it will move you to pray for them that God will open their eyes because only God is able to do so (verse 42b).

a. Unless God speaks life into us we will remain dead. Jesus knew this, but He still wept. His heart was  broken by their blindness.

b. See Romans chapters 9-10. Paul wept over the spiritual blindness of his brother Israelites.

3. If you love sinners the way God loves them it will move you to preach to them of the judgment to come (verses 43-44).

a. The judgment to come broke Jesus heart. And also for the reason for the judgment – because they had rejected the day of their visitation by God.

b. And how much greater the condemnation will be for those who reject the resurrected Savior.

c. This should move us to action.

d. See Luke chapter 16.

e. If you are rescuing people from a sinking ship, you don’t spend time looking into God’s eternal plan to see who He wills to save and who He wills to die. You put everything you have into rescuing everyone you can.

Jesus’ love for sinners held Him to the cross. What is your love for sinners causing you to do?


Jonathan Sims – Urging All to Repent and Believe

The third sesson of the True Church Conference 2010 “The Quagmire of Hyper-Calvinism”.

The morning session closed with a lecture by Jonathan Sims, a pastor in Shelbyville, Tennessee. His topic was urging all to repent and believe. His text was Acts 17:30-34. Why should we urge all men to repent and believe the gospel? Because that’s what God did. Because that’s what John the Baptist did. Because that’s what the apostles did. Because that’s what Jesus did.

Acts 17 is the story of Paul in Thessalonica, Berea, and Athens. In Thessalonica he preached that Jesus was the Christ. In Athens he disputed with the learned men. He urged these men to repent and believe.

1. We must urge all men to repent and believe because all men are ignorant (verse 30). All men are spiritually blind. All men are depraved. The men in Athens were ignorant. Consider their altar to an unknown God.  Paul made a call to all men of Athens to repent and believe.

2. We must urge all men to repent and believe because God commands all men everywhere to repent (verse 30). He does not suggest, he commands, and his commands are meant to be obeyed. “Flee the wrath that is to come.” Repentance is a gift from God, but it is also the command of God.

3. We must urge all men to repent and believe because all men will one day face the judgment of God (verse 31). The day has been appointed. The standard is righteousness. The proof of judgment lies in the resurrection of Jesus Christ which guarantees the resurrection of man. We all fall far short of the standard of Jesus Christ. However, we also have assurance in Jesus Christ (verse 32). Men are ignorant of the wrath to come without the gospel preacher.

4. We must urge all men to repent and believe because some will repent and believe (verse 34). Some will mock (v. 32). Some will be unsure, they will procrastinate (v.32). But some will repent and believe. Just to see one cleave unto Jesus Christ is worth it. God’s plan is to save some by preaching the gospel to all. Not to save all by preaching to all. Not to save some by preaching to some. And certainly not to save some by preaching to none. It’s not about the preacher, it’s about the message.

5. We must urge all men to repent and believe because this is our calling. See Acts 9:15-16. And we must not be disobedient to the call.  See Acts 26:19-20. Spurgeon sees the dichotomy. He recognizes that repentance and conversion are a gift of God. But he also sees the commission to preach to all men repentance and conversion.


George Mueller – Preaching

George Mueller refused to accept a salary for his preaching. Why?

The whole system tends to the bondage of the servant of Christ.
One must be unusually faithful and intrepid
if he feels no temptation to keep back or in some degree
modify his message in order to please men,
when he remembers that the very parties,
most open to rebuke and most liable to offence,
are perhaps the main contributors toward his salary.”

~ George Mueller ~