Monday, February 25, 2013

A Word for Preachers...Ferguson on the Preacher's Heart

"There is a widespread need for (preaching that produces inner prostration of the hearts of listeners). We have an equal need as preachers to catch the vision for it in an overly pragmatic and programmatic society that believes it is possible to live the Christian life without either the exposing of our own hearts or the accompanying prostration of ourselves before the majesty of God on high.

"It is just here that one notices a striking contrast between the biblical exposition one finds in the steady preaching of John Calvin in the sixteenth century and preaching in our own day. It is clearly signaled by the words with which he ended virtually every one of his thousands of sermons: 'And now let us bow down before the majesty of our gracious God...' Reformed biblical exposition elevates God and abases man. By contrast, much modern preaching seems to have the goal of making man feel great, even if God Himself has to bow down.

"So a leading characteristic of preaching of to their heart will be the humbling, indeed, prostration of hearts before the majesty of god on high. This is simultaneously the true ecstasy of the Christian, and therein lies the paradox of grace: the way down is always the way up.

"But if, through the preaching of the gospel, we want to see people prostrated with mingled awe and joy before God, the essential prerequisite is that we ourselves be prostrated before him. John Owen's words still ring true even after three and a half centuries: ' a man preacheth that sermon only well unto others which preacheth itself in his own soul....If the word do not dwell with power in  us, it will not pass with power from us.'"

Sinclair Ferguson
Feed My Sheep: A Passionate Plea for Preaching

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