March 19, 2007

For The Preachers ...

From the Robert Murray M'Cheyne section of the book, "They Were Pilgrims" ---
"M'Cheyne himself was a preacher of far greater skill than his short life might suggest, and the secret was his unsparing diligence in preparation and consistent emphasis on the gospel message. He was convinced that a preacher sheds a true light only when he is held as a star in the right hand of the son of God, and that faithless preachers will be cast out of that right hand into the long night of total darkness. This taught him to prepare for the pulpit with an eye to eternity; he was sure that nothing else would serve but 'beaten oil for the lamps of the sanctuary.'
"At first he wrote out each sermon in full, but he learned by degrees to preach from notes: he would meditate with earnest prayer in his study, and then improvise with searching power in the pulpit. 'One thing always fills the cup of my consolation,' he wrote; 'that God may work by the meanest and poorest words as well as by the most polished and ornate, - yea, perhaps more readily, that the glory may be all His own.' There was doctrine in his preaching, but the great issue in all his sermons was to press the invitation of the gospel on his hearers. Andrew Bonar sized it up in one clear picture: 'Is not the true idea of preaching that of one like Ahimaaz, coming with all important tidings, and intent of making these tidings known?' Such a system of preparation and preaching would always reflect the experience of his own soul; he could only give out of the fullness of what he had himself received. It was never enough for him to have bread from heaven for the hungry or the waters of life for the thirsty: it had to be water which he had drawn from the palace wells and bread which he had won from the King's table to meet his own hunger and thirst. He led his flock in the green fields and by the still waters where he himself had found nourishment and rest.
Oh, how vital that is. I sadly confess and can remember a season in early days of ministry when I failed to receive and incorporate the message of God's Word into my own life and heart before passing it through to the hearers of that message. How difficult it is for a dry sponge to give living water to others. May each of you have the opportunity this day to be still, there in your study or in some quiet place, and know the one who is God! Perhaps you'd even consider some time away at this year's Ministers' Conference sponsored by the Banner of Truth ... all men, all involved in ministry, coming together day and night to feast upon some rich spiritual nourishment from the expository preaching of the Word and the significant fellowship of the body. Grace & peace to you this day ... Steve

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