Welcome to episode #74 of PROCLAIM! — the podcast that teaches every Bible-believing Christian how to preach the Gospel by any means necessary in many different settings, including using the internet and the new “podcast pulpit”.
Our Scripture Verse on preaching is 1 Timothy 4:13 which reads: “Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.”
Our quote on preaching today is from Martin Luther. He said, “A preacher must be both soldier and shepherd. He must nourish, defend, and teach. He must have teeth in his mouth, and be able to bite and fight.”
In this podcast, we are using as our texts the following three books: “Lectures to My Students” by Charles H. Spurgeon; “The Preacher and his Preaching” by Alfred P. Gibbs; and “Biblical Preaching” by Haddon W. Robinson.
Today, our topic is titled “The Road from Text to Sermon, Part 10” from “Biblical Preaching” by Haddon W. Robinson.
C. S. Lewis comes at validity by identifying himself with a question that thoughtful people have about the Gospel:
Here is another thing that used to puzzle me. Is it not frightfully unfair that this new life should be confined to people who have heard of Christ and been able to believe in Him? But the truth is God has not told us what His arrangements about the other people are. We do know that no man can be saved except through Christ; we do not know that only those who know about Him can be saved through Him. But in the meantime, if you worried about the people outside, the most unreasonable thing you can do is to remain outside yourself. Christians are Christ’s body, the organism through which He works. Every addition to that body enables Him to do more. If you want to help those outside, you must add your own little cell to the body of Christ who alone can help them. Cutting off a man’s fingers would be an odd way of getting him to do more work.
Whether you fully agree with Lewis or not, he raises a classic question, deals with it, and turns it back upon the questioner.
J. Wallace Hamilton, preaching on the providence of God, understands the serious questions that are raised when we are told that we live by the providence of God every moment of our lives. He quotes an anonymous poet as he begins to deal with the doubts:
“Oh, where is the sea” the fishes cried,
As they swam the Atlantic waters through;
“We’ve heard of the sea and the ocean tide
And we long to gaze on its waters blue.”
All around us are little fishes looking for the sea; people living, moving, having their being in an ocean of God’s providence, but who can’t see the ocean for the water. Maybe it’s because we call it by another name. The ancient Hebrews from whom the Bible came were a religious people. They thought in religious patterns, they spoke in religious phrases, they saw in every event the direct activity of God. If it rained, it was God who sent the rain. When crops were good, it was God who yielded the increase. But that is not our language, nor the pattern of our thought. We think in terms of law—chemical, natural law. When it rains we know it is the natural condensation of vapor. When crops are good we credit it to the fertilizer. An amazing thing has happened in our way of thinking. In a world that could not for one moment exist without the activity of God, we have conditioned our minds to a way of thinking that leaves no room for him. So many of our wants are provided by what seem natural and impersonal forces that we have lost sight of the great Provider in the midst of providence. Some of us who were brought up in the country and then later moved to the city remember how easy it was to get out of the habit of returning thanks at the table, partly because the food on it came not directly from the earth but from the grocery store. A physician in New York City said, “If you ask a child where milk comes from, he won’t think of saying ‘From a cow.’ He will say ‘From a container.’”
Merely to ask, “Is that true? Do I and my hearers believe that?” does not produce instant answers. But failing to contend with those basic questions means we will speak only to those who are already committed. Worse, because we have not been willing to live for a time on the sloping back of a question mark, we may become hucksters for a message that we do not believe ourselves. A congregation has the right to expect that we are at least aware of the problems before we offer solutions. Work your way through the ideas in the exegetical outline and deal honestly with the question, “Would my audience accept that statement as true? If not, why not?” Write down the specific questions that come and, if possible, the direction of some of the answers. Before long you will discover much that you and your hearers have to think about as the sermon develops.
Let’s Pray —
Dear friend, if you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior, may I encourage you to get to know Him today.
First, accept the fact that you are a sinner, and that you have broken God’s law. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”
Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”
Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Also, the Bible states in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”
Now this is bad news, but here’s the good news. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will.
Romans 10:9-13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
Until next time, may God bless you!