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  • Samuel at Gilgal

    This year I will be sharing brief excerpts from the articles, sermons, and books I am currently reading. My posts will not follow a regular schedule but will be published as I find well-written thoughts that should be of interest to maturing Christian readers. Whenever possible, I encourage you to go to the source and read the complete work of the author.

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ALWAYS PRAY

Martyn Lloyd-JonesMartyn Lloyd-Jones:

“Always respond to every impulse to pray. The impulse to pray may come when you are reading or when you are battling with a text. I would make an absolute law of this – always obey such an impulse. Where does it come from? It is the work of the Holy Spirit (Phil 2:12-13). This often leads to some of the most remarkable experiences in the life of the minister. So never resist, never postpone it, never push it aside because you are busy. Give yourself to it, yield to it; and you will find not only that you have not been wasting time with respect to the matter with which you are dealing but that actually it has helped you greatly in that respect. You will experience an ease and a facility in understanding what you were reading, in thinking, in ordering matter for a sermon, in writing, in everything which is quite astonishing. Such a call to prayer must never be regarded as a distraction; always respond to it immediately, and thank God if it happens to you frequently.” (Preaching & Preachers, 170-171)

The Chief End of Preaching

Martyn Lloyd-JonesMartyn Lloyd-Jones:

“What is the chief end of preaching? I like to think it is this: It is to give men and women a sense of God and His presence.”

Martyn Lloyd-Jones On Illustrations And Story-Telling In The Pulpit

Martyn Lloyd-Jones

Quoting Martyn Lloyd-Jones:

Stories and illustrations are only meant to illustrate truth, not to call attention to themselves. This whole business of illustrations and story-telling has been a particular curse during the last hundred years. I believe it is one of the factors that accounts for the decline in preaching because it helped to give the impression that preaching was an art, an end in itself. There have undoubtedly been many who really prepared a sermon simply in order to be able to use a great illustration. . . . The illustration had become the first thing; you then find a text which is likely to cover this. In other words the heart of the matter had become the illustration. But that is the wrong order. The illustration is meant to illustrate truth, not to show itself, not to call attention to itself; it is a means of leading and helping people to see the truth that you are enunciating and proclaiming still more clearly. The rule therefore should always be that the truth must be pre-eminent and have great prominence, and illustrations must be used sparsely and carefully to that end alone. Our business is not to entertain people. . . .

A preacher should go into the pulpit to . . . proclaim the Truth itself. . . . Everything else is but to minister to this end. Illustrations are just servants. . . . I am prepared to go so far as to say that if you use too many illustrations in your sermon your preaching will be ineffective. To do so always means loss of tension. There is the type of preacher who after saying a few words says, ‘I remember’ – then out comes the story. Then after a few more remarks again, ‘I remember’. This means that the theme, the thrust of the Truth, is constantly being interrupted; it becomes staccato, and in the end you feel that you have been listening to a kind of after-dinner speaker or entertainer and not to a man proclaiming a grand and a glorious Truth. If such preachers become popular, and they frequently do, they are popular only in a bad sense, because they are really nothing but popular entertainers. (Preaching and Preachers (Zondervan: 1971), p. 232-234)

Martyn Lloyd-Jones On Evangelism And Theology

Cover of "Preaching and Preachers (Hodder...

Preaching & Preachers

Quoting Martyn Lloyd-Jones:

Preaching must always be theological, always based on a theological foundation. . . . A type of preaching that is sometimes . . . regarded as non-theological is evangelistic preaching. . . . You ‘bring people to Christ’ as they put it; and then you teach them the truth. It is only subsequently that theology comes in.

That, to me, is quite wrong, and indeed nonsense. I would be prepared to argue that in many ways evangelistic preaching should be more, rather than less theological, than any other, and for this good reason. Why is it that you call people to repent? Why do you call them to believe the gospel? You cannot deal properly with repentance without dealing with the doctrine of man, the doctrine of the Fall, the doctrine of sin and the wrath of God against sin. Then when you call me to come to Christ and to give themselves to Him, how can you do so without knowing who He is, and on what grounds you invite them to come to Him, and so on. In other words it is all highly theological. Evangelism which is not theological is not evangelism at all in any true sense. It may be a calling for decisions, it may be calling on people to come to religion, or to live a better kind of life, or the offering of some psychological benefits; but it cannot by any definition be regarded as Christian evangelism, because there is no true reason for what you are doing, apart from these great theological principles. I assert therefore that every type of preaching must be theological, including evangelistic preaching. (Preaching and Preachers (Zondervan: 1971), p. 64-65)

 

Martyn Lloyd-Jones On The Preacher’s Call To Pray

Cover of "Preaching and Preachers (Hodder...

Preaching & Preachers

Quoting Martyn Lloyd-Jones:

Always respond to every impulse to pray. The impulse to pray may come when you are reading or when you are battling with a text. I would make an absolute law of this – always obey such an impulse. Where does it come from? It is the work of the Holy Spirit; it is a part of the meaning of ‘Work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure’ (Phil 2:12-13). This often leads to some of the most remarkable experiences in the life of the minister. So never resist, never postpone it, never push it aside because you are busy. Give yourself to it, yield to it; and you will find not only that you have not been wasting time with respect to the matter with which you are dealing but that actually it has helped you greatly in that respect. You will experience an ease and a facility in understanding what you were reading, in thinking, in ordering matter for a sermon, in writing, in everything which is quite astonishing. Such a call to prayer must never be regarded as a distraction; always respond to it immediately, and thank God if it happens to you frequently. (Preaching and Preachers (Zondervan, 1972), p. 170-171; from Chapter 9, “The Preparation of the Preacher”)

 

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