Puritans' on Preaching: “Primary means of grace”
- not “only” but “primary”
- Biblically, Historically, Experientially
The Confrontational Preacher: Elijah
- Elijah, “The Lord is God”, and that was his message in the time and age of false teachers and idol worshippers.
1 Kings 18:20–46 (CSB)
20 So Ahab summoned all the Israelites and gathered the prophets at Mount Carmel.
21 Then Elijah approached all the people and said, “How long will you waver between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow him. But if Baal, follow him.” But the people didn’t answer him a word.
22 Then Elijah said to the people, “I am the only remaining prophet of the LORD, but Baal’s prophets are 450 men.
23 Let two bulls be given to us. They are to choose one bull for themselves, cut it in pieces, and place it on the wood but not light the fire. I will prepare the other bull and place it on the wood but not light the fire.
24 Then you call on the name of your god, and I will call on the name of the LORD. The God who answers with fire, he is God.” All the people answered, “That’s fine.”
25 Then Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, “Since you are so numerous, choose for yourselves one bull and prepare it first. Then call on the name of your god but don’t light the fire.”
26 So they took the bull that he gave them, prepared it, and called on the name of Baal from morning until noon, saying, “Baal, answer us!” But there was no sound; no one answered. Then they danced around the altar they had made.
27 At noon Elijah mocked them. He said, “Shout loudly, for he’s a god! Maybe he’s thinking it over; maybe he has wandered away; or maybe he’s on the road. Perhaps he’s sleeping and will wake up!”
28 They shouted loudly, and cut themselves with knives and spears, according to their custom, until blood gushed over them.
29 All afternoon they kept on raving until the offering of the evening sacrifice, but there was no sound; no one answered, no one paid attention.
30 Then Elijah said to all the people, “Come near me.” So all the people approached him. Then he repaired the LORD’s altar that had been torn down:
31 Elijah took twelve stones—according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob, to whom the word of the LORD had come, saying, “Israel will be your name”—
32 and he built an altar with the stones in the name of the LORD. Then he made a trench around the altar large enough to hold about four gallons.
33 Next, he arranged the wood, cut up the bull, and placed it on the wood. He said, “Fill four water pots with water and pour it on the offering to be burned and on the wood.”
34 Then he said, “A second time!” and they did it a second time. And then he said, “A third time!” and they did it a third time.
35 So the water ran all around the altar; he even filled the trench with water.
36 At the time for offering the evening sacrifice, the prophet Elijah approached the altar and said, “LORD, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, today let it be known that you are God in Israel and I am your servant, and that at your word I have done all these things.
37 Answer me, LORD! Answer me so that this people will know that you, the LORD, are God and that you have turned their hearts back.”
38 Then the LORD’s fire fell and consumed the burnt offering, the wood, the stones, and the dust, and it licked up the water that was in the trench.
39 When all the people saw it, they fell facedown and said, “The LORD, he is God! The LORD, he is God!”
40 Then Elijah ordered them, “Seize the prophets of Baal! Do not let even one of them escape.” So they seized them, and Elijah brought them down to the Wadi Kishon and slaughtered them there.
41 Elijah said to Ahab, “Go up, eat and drink, for there is the sound of a rainstorm.”
42 So Ahab went to eat and drink, but Elijah went up to the summit of Carmel. He bent down on the ground and put his face between his knees.
43 Then he said to his servant, “Go up and look toward the sea.” So he went up, looked, and said, “There’s nothing.” Seven times Elijah said, “Go back.”
44 On the seventh time, he reported, “There’s a cloud as small as a man’s hand coming up from the sea.” Then Elijah said, “Go and tell Ahab, ‘Get your chariot ready and go down so the rain doesn’t stop you.’ ”
45 In a little while, the sky grew dark with clouds and wind, and there was a downpour. So Ahab got in his chariot and went to Jezreel.
46 The power of the LORD was on Elijah, and he tucked his mantle under his belt and ran ahead of Ahab to the entrance of Jezreel.
God plus one always makes a majority.
The Double Portion Preacher: Elisha
Only God can give you the divine empowerment and courage and grace and spirit to do the will of God.
You are weak. You are in absolute need of God by God for God to carry ou the preaching of God’s will.
The Revival Preacher: Ezra
Studied the word of God for at least 14 years not knowing what lied ahead. When it came time for the preaching of the word of God to 42,000 people, Ezra was prepared. God prepared the man for the moment and the moment for the man.
Ezra 7:10 (CSB) Now Ezra had determined in his heart to study the law of the LORD, obey it, and teach its statutes and ordinances in Israel.
Ezra had determined in his heart: to study the law of the LORD
You attempt to master the word of God. That’s when then word of God masters you.
Ezra had determined in his heart: obey it
NASB - practice it. Put up or shut up.
Ezra had determined in his heart: teach its statutes and ordinances in Israel
Teach, expound, preach
The time finally came in Nehemiah 8:
Nehemiah 7:73 - 8:3 (CSB) When the seventh month came and the Israelites had settled in their towns, 1 all the people gathered together at the square in front of the Water Gate. They asked the scribe Ezra to bring the book of the law of Moses that the LORD had given Israel. 2 On the first day of the seventh month, the priest Ezra brought the law before the assembly of men, women, and all who could listen with understanding. While he was facing the square in front of the Water Gate, he read out of it from daybreak until noon before the men, the women, and those who could understand. All the people listened attentively to the book of the law.
Nehemiah 8:4-6 (CSB) 4 The scribe Ezra stood on a high wooden platform made for this purpose. Mattithiah, Shema, Anaiah, Uriah, Hilkiah, and Maaseiah stood beside him on his right; to his left were Pedaiah, Mishael, Malchijah, Hashum, Hash-baddanah, Zechariah, and Meshullam. 5 Ezra opened the book in full view of all the people, since he was elevated above everyone. As he opened it, all the people stood up. 6 Ezra blessed the LORD, the great God, and with their hands uplifted all the people said, “Amen, Amen! ” Then they knelt low and worshiped the LORD with their faces to the ground.
We are called to be exaltation preachers–we are to preach to exalt the Almighty God.
Then other scribes exegeted the passages:
Nehemiah 8:7-9 (CSB) Jeshua, Bani, Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodiah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan, and Pelaiah, who were Levites, explained the law to the people as they stood in their places. 8 They read out of the book of the law of God, translating and giving the meaning so that the people could understand what was read. 9 Nehemiah the governor, Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who were instructing the people said to all of them, “This day is holy to the LORD your God. Do not mourn or weep.” For all the people were weeping as they heard the words of the law.
Do not grieve. God is sufficient to save us. Christ is sufficient to save us. We get to rejoice and celebrate!
Nehemiah 8:10-12 (CSB) Then he said to them, “Go and eat what is rich, drink what is sweet, and send portions to those who have nothing prepared, since today is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, because the joy of the LORD is your strength.” 11 And the Levites quieted all the people, saying, “Be still, since today is holy. Don’t grieve.” 12 Then all the people began to eat and drink, send portions, and have a great celebration, because they had understood the words that were explained to them.
The Philosophical Preacher: Solomon
Ecclesiastes “The Preacher”
What does the Preacher must do?
Ecclesiastes 12:8-14 (CSB) “Absolute futility,” says the Teacher. “Everything is futile.”
Preacher: Everything outside the word of God pertaining to God is rubbish compared to the word of God
9 In addition to the Teacher being a wise man, he constantly taught the people knowledge; he weighed, explored, and arranged many proverbs. 10 The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and write words of truth accurately.
Preacher: Must arrange the truth in order to communicate and convey to the congregation
Never circular. Always linear. A to B to C. Stay on the beaten path.
11 The sayings of the wise are like cattle prods, and those from masters of collections are like firmly embedded nails. The sayings are given by one Shepherd.
Preacher: Never ‘Take it or leave it’
We don’t just present the information. There must be a transformation of the people’s lives.
We must nail down the truth. We must secure the message.
And there is only one source of truth–that is the only, only Lord Jesus Christ.
12 But beyond these, my son, be warned: there is no end to the making of many books, and much study wearies the body. 13 When all has been heard, the conclusion of the matter is this: fear God and keep his commands, because this is for all humanity. 14 For God will bring every act to judgment, including every hidden thing, whether good or evil.
Preacher: the marks of the man
You may visit other books. You must live in the Bible.
Preaching boils down to one thing: we must fear God.
The deeper you walk with God, the more you will fear him and be in awe of him.