Below is both the speach-act and the written-act of the Sermon delivered on Christ the King Sunday at Christ Church United Methodist Church:
Below is both the speach-act and the written-act of the Sermon delivered on Christ the King Sunday at Christ Church United Methodist Church:
I have one more sermon to preach for this class. It will occur on 25 November which is Christ the King Sunday, a Feast Day for Roman Christians. It began in 1925 with this letter:
Read it, enjoy.
Below is the finalish version. I would assume that I am no different than most preachers who change things on the fly. But I stuck pretty well to this.
And remember, this is a class. I do not intend to preach and to be honest, after the next sermon, I seriously doubt that this will ever happen again:
As a side note – it has been a very long time since I posted to the category of Sermon Notes; however, as I am preaching next week, I guess I will. This week, I want to focus on a few things. First, is this book.
I wanted to take a class on preaching for two reasons. First, I figured I could take it here – face to face. Second, I figured it would help me later in life if I hit the lecture circuit. And also didn’t think I would have to preach. I don’t know why I thought that, but I did. Yes, I took a class on preaching with the hopes that I would not have to preach. This is not the strangest expectation I’ve had, but it comes pretty close.
Fred B. Craddock is a name widely known amongst preachers; his story-telling technique has inspired countless ministers to embrace what the basic nature of the person – the narrative. His book is no less than that – a story about preaching from a preacher who tells stories. As my instructor pointed out, there not one footnote. Perhaps that is the way it should be. A book on preaching that keeps it plain and simple, but holds a great depth behind the words. No sourcing of evidence or outside authority is needed — Craddock is not arguing one way or the other, but speaking directly to the reader. If the reader is convinced, that conviction then becomes the argument Craddock never really had to make.
I must say, that reading this book, while a fresh air no doubt, was still somewhat odd. The ministry I am used too, preaching-wise, was one of spontaneity. As a lay minister, we never knew when we were going to be called upon to preach; therefore, we had to be “instant in season and out of season.” I would, between services on Sunday prepare a sermon outline. I had notes, verses, and some general idea of what I was going to say – rather, what direction I was going to go in. Everything else was left up to the Holy Ghost – not spirit, you dullard heretic papists, but Ghost. I remember one line in one of my sermons, proclaiming that I was blood bought and Holy Ghost taught. Amen. That actually got a lot of shouts and amens and a few others things. Look, I’m not saying I am not good right out of the gate. I am. I can pretty well deliver something, and do it well. They called me the red-headed Cajun preaching machine. But this, well, this is going to be different. This will be a somewhat – an allwhat if I can help it – prepared sermon. There is a reason, I figure, why Wesley, Calvin, Luther, and Barth are all remembered for their sermons and their theology. Because we can read it today. There are plenty of books of sermons by the great preachers of the past; not one of them went unprepared. And you know what? These prepared sermons still speak to us today. We still find inspiration in them in our daily walk. So, once I have convinced myself that a prepare sermon was in fact not heresy, I was able to write mine.
Several things struck me as pertinent about sermon preparation while reading this book. First, Craddock has devoted three sections to preparing the sermon. I’m not saying that this mimics the Trinity, but as one who looks for hidden structures in literary works, I can see Craddock’s insistence that the preaching life of a minister follow the Trinitarian model. Part I deals with an overview, the context, and basic theology of preaching. The second part deals with the message, the word of the preacher. (By the way, here he is very Barthian in his approach to Scripture and the Preacher.) This second part is about the ways which the preacher abides in the (W)ord, along with interpretation of the text, or the delivery of the (W)ord. Party three deals with the application of the sermon. It is shaped, stored, storied, formed, and finally delivered into application. So, very much a Trinitarian structure to preaching, or perhaps, at least to the book.
Later, I’ll examine the book in detail.
I recently preached a sermon titled “Being an agent of hope, in a pain filled world” to the youth / young adults congregation at church. I thought you might like to have a listen to it. Let me know what you think.
I know a few folks clicked through last week from this site. If you’re interested in hearing more from a Catholic preacher at a Presbyterian Church, you check out this Sunday’s sermon HERE.
So for anyone that hasn’t noticed, I’ve started a personal site where I post from time to time. I posted the audio from my sermon at the First Presbyterian Church in Hammond (LA) this morning. You can give it a listen if you’d like.
Sometime ago someone preached a sermon concerning the thief who seeks to steal our joy, our blessing, and our salvation. The problem is that in doing so, he failed to rightly divided the word of Truth, and ended up calling Jesus Christ a murderer -
Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming. But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into. Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect. (Matthew 24:42-44 NKJV)
Can you see how simple the understanding of this verse is: Plainly, the Lord is the unknown that is coming to the Master (the rule of this world) to ‘steal away’ something, namely His people.
Not every word or phrase in the bible is used the exact same way – a point which we will not get into here – but in basing all things related to a thief on this:
The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. (John 10:10 NKJV)
- If we base every time that the world ‘thief’ is used, we fail to rightly divide, and come away sounding foolish at best – and blasphemous at worse.
Look at this way – this world is not governed by God, so to take people out of this world, would be theft of the property of the adversary; the Church (I refer here to John 10) is the property of the Lord’s – His little flock – so anyone attempting to steal away a Saint is a thief.
But, seriously, just read the Bible.
Today, we read that many Protestants are converting to Catholic or Eastern Orthodox in droves and the reason that they give is that they desire something concrete. People are leaving the light weighted mega churches who teach only a good life and seeking something that is rooted to history. Protestants have focused on the manner of life, shouting from the rooftops throughout history “Faith Alone!” or as John Calvin said, “Sola Fide!” Their historical insistence that all one has to do is to in some way mention the name of the Lord and they are saved has eroded their denominational boundaries and is drawing everyone together into one fold, with no difference or distinction any more. How many times have we heard the sinner, justifying himself, say that it doesn’t matter what we believe, if we live a good life, we are all going to the same place? Although this is a recent invention, the seeds to this were sown centuries ago when people freely left the Doctrine of the Church and created their own doctrine.
We can find people that live lives of service, devoted to their fellow man in all religions. We can find good moral people that don’t even believe in God. They might have throngs of people mourning their death, but unless they lead a life in subjection to the doctrine of the Word of God, it was for nothing. If living a devout life was all it took, then Cornelius would have not needed Peter.
Doctrine – διδασκαλία (didaskalia)
1) teaching, instruction
a) that which is taught, doctrine
b) teachings, precepts
The etymology of the word ‘doctrine’ has it first being used to describe generic teaching about a subject, but by the time Paul wrote to Timothy, it came to mean ‘instruction on how to do something’. There is a difference that is rarely seen in the modern era. When we teach something, we do so in a very general format covering only the basics, but when we instruct, we get into the precepts and learn the minute details of how to do something. When Paul used Doctrine, he did not mean the everyday conversation about Christ, in that when a Saint speaks to a sinner, but the instructions of the Church.
In 1st Timothy 3:15-16, we read ‘But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth. And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.’
In this we come to understand that the Church itself is the column and stay of the Truth. The ‘Stay’ or keep of an ancient Castle was the place where the defense was kept, where the most prized possessions were, in a time of war, moved to protect them. Here we see Paul telling Timothy that the Church is the very place where the Truth is kept from invaders and those that would seek to destroy it.
In Acts 2:42, Luke tells us, ‘And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.’
These very first converts, having no Tradition or great theologians to follow relied only on the very thing that the Apostles’ taught. Steadfast, as we all know, means to be steadfastly attentive unto, to give unremitting care to a thing and to continue all the time in a place. How could a steadfast commitment to the Doctrine that the Apostle’s taught be seen as a good thing if the Doctrine was meant to change?
The young man Timothy was told by Paul in 1st Timothy 4:6, “If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained.” Paul did not instruct Timothy to seek something new, or to seek a change, even slight, in the Doctrine of the Church, but to constantly bring the people back to it. In other words, bring the people back to the doctrine, don’t bring the doctrine up to the people.
In Paul’s second letter to the young minister, he encourages Timothy to “(2Ti 4:2-5) Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. ”
Throughout the history of the persecutions of the primitive Church, we read that those Saints where not killed for the way of life, but for their doctrine. We all know of Saul of Tarsus persecuted the Church not for the life that the Saints lived, but for the name and doctrine that they proclaimed. In Acts 5:28 We read of a trial before the Sanhedrin, where the Jewish leaders asked Peter and John, saying, ”Did not we straightly command you that ye should not teach in this name? and, behold, ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this man’s blood upon us.” The Jewish leaders cared very little for the manner of life of the Church, but for their doctrine!
Around 113, the Roman ruler of Palestine wrote the emperor saying that it was not for their manner of life that he was persecuting them, but for their insistence that Christ was God and in the Roman mind, that made them atheists. During later controversies with the Trinitarians, the discussion never brought it self to the manner of life of those people that, like us, insisted that Christ was God, but always focused on their doctrine.
2Jn 1:9-10 Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed:
The aged Apostle warns us that we have to have the doctrine of Christ or we have not God. If we do not stay in the Doctrine we loose God.
Hebrews 6:4-6, 10:26-29
It took 300 years to fully develop the doctrine of the Trinity, some 1500 years to end the need for baptism, and 1900 years to come up with the sinner’s prayer
Heart (Kardia – Gr)
The heart is the chief of all organs in the body. If the brain goes into a coma, the heart can still function and the body still lives, but if the heart stops, then the body is doomed. The Jews understood the heart to be the seat of physical vitality, the source of religious and ethical conduct (1 Sam 12.20 – the place of true worship) and the place where your true thoughts, your will, and your intentions can be found (Jeremiah 23.20). This is why when God spoke of the new covenant, He said that He would write it on our hearts (Jeremiah 31.31). The heart is the place that God will try us and where we will be proven by Him (Psalms 2.7, Proverbs 17.3, 1st Thess 2.4).
Rom 10:8-13 –
But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach (Deut. 30.11-14); 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.
When Moses spoke, it was a word that had to be obeyed, here Paul preached a word that had to believed, relying upon faith and faith has to be grasped in the heart, which is evidenced when Paul focuses on the belief and the confession. God hardened the heart to the understanding (John 12.40). Understanding of God does not come through the intellect, but through the heart. It is through the broken heart that we come to God (Psalms 34.18)
God set the heart aside because, being the chief organ, faith can be grasped there. It can be thought on there; we can be reached through it. And experience with God is never made in the rational mind, but the emotional heart.
Rom 10:8-13 –
But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach That if thou shalt (1)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. (2) For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
1. Just what does it mean to confess that Jesus is Lord? No Jew would do this that had not really trusted Christ, for Kurios in the lxx is used of God. No Gentile would do it that had not ceased worshipping the emperor as Kurios. The word Kurios was and is the touchstone of faith. In Romans 9.5, we read that Christ is God over all. Thomas called Christ his Lord and God. In 2nd Peter 2.1, the Apostle addresses his epistle to ‘them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ’. Paul tells Titus that we are to look forward to the appearing of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ. The Apostle John calls Christ the only true God in the closing thoughts of his first letter. What does Paul mean? Paul says that you must confess that Jesus Christ is the same God of the Old Testament that the Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob worshipped.
2. The Apostles didn’t have Acts 2.38, but they had the same message. As a matter of fact, what Peter said during that Feast he got from the Old Testament, from the prophets. Peter preached right out of the prophet Joel 2.28-32. The prophet wrote, “And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the LORD hath said, and in the remnant whom the LORD shall call.” What then is the name of the Lord?
When Saul of Tarsus, the great persecutor of the Church, who hated the name of Christ, met the Lord on the road to Damascus, God sent him to a man named Ananias. Ananias told him to get up and go get baptized to wash his sins away, calling upon the name of the Lord. When those that heard the Apostle Peter questioned him on what they must do, he told them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. They did not question him after they had thought about it, but after the message had pricked their hearts.
In closing, I can think of no better prayer of the heart, than that of King David:
1Ch 29:10-20 Blessed be thou, LORD God of Israel our father, for ever and ever. Thine, O LORD, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O LORD, and thou art exalted as head above all. Both riches and honour come of thee, and thou reignest over all; and in thine hand is power and might; and in thine hand it is to make great, and to give strength unto all. Now therefore, our God, we thank thee, and praise thy glorious name. But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able to offer so willingly after this sort? for all things come of thee, and of thine own have we given thee. For we are strangers before thee, and sojourners, as were all our fathers: our days on the earth are as a shadow, and there is none abiding. O LORD our God, all this store that we have prepared to build thee an house for thine holy name cometh of thine hand, and is all thine own. I know also, my God, that thou triest the heart, and hast pleasure in uprightness. As for me, in the uprightness of mine heart I have willingly offered all these things: and now have I seen with joy thy people, which are present here, to offer willingly unto thee. O LORD God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel, our fathers, keep this for ever in the imagination of the thoughts of the heart of thy people, and prepare their heart unto thee…
The First Great Awakening.
One of the preachers named John Webb (1657-1750) began to misuse Revelation 3:19-30.
He said “Here is a promise of Union to Christ; in these words, I will come in to him. i.e. If any Sinner will but hear my Voice and open the Door, and receive me by Faith, I will come into his Soul, and unite him to me, and make him a living member of that my mystical body of which I am the Head” (Christ’s Suit to the Sinner, 14).
The mourner’s bench.
This first began to be used in 1741, by Eleazar Wheelock (1711-1779), founder of Dartmouth College, who put the lost people in the front of the building he was preaching in, he watched them during the sermon and used emotionalism to get them to obey his doctrine.
In about 1835 Charles G. Finney (1792-1875) picked up this practice and called it the “anxious seat” as part of his “new measures.”
Finney would take on the role of Jesus and say “will you let me into to feast with you?” with all eyes in the audience on the “sinner” they would be almost forced to respond with a yes. This was called conversion.
Finney made some enemies because of the use of the anxious seat. Calvinist’s like John Nevin (1803-1886) criticized his use of the emotional anxious bench.
So he defended its use “The church has always felt it necessary to have something of this kind to answer this very purpose. In the days of the apostles, baptism answered this purpose. The gospel was preached to the people, and then all those who were willing to be on the side of Christ, were called out to be baptized. It held the place that the anxious seat does now as a public manifestation of their determination to be Christians” (“Measures to Promote Revival” located at http://www.gospeltruth.net/1868Lect_on_Rev_of_Rel/68revlec14.htm).
Some began to notice that the anxious bench converts had a high drop-out rate. It was Dwight Moody who began to call the lost to the side into what he called the “inquiry room” where his trained counsels would pray with the person to “receive Christ,” but it was still not called the “sinner’s prayer.”
Billy Sunday began to call people to walk down the “saw-dust trail” to shake hands with him to be saved.
Finally, in the 1940′s, Billy Graham began to call people to say the “sinner’s prayer” for salvation.
Examples of the “sinner’s prayer.”
“Father, I know that I have broken your laws and my sins have separated me from you. I am truly sorry, and now I want to turn away from my past sinful life toward you. Please forgive me, and help me avoid sinning again. I believe that your son, Jesus Christ died for my sins, was resurrected from the dead, is alive, and hears my prayer. I invite Jesus to become the Lord of my life, to rule and reign in my heart from this day forward”
“Jesus, I believe and I need the salvation you have provided. Come into my heart, rule my life today, and show me how to live. Amen” (From the tract: “The Plain Gospel”).
“God, I’m sorry for my sins. Right now, I turn from my sins and ask you to forgive me. Thank you for sending Jesus Christ to die on the cross for my sins. Jesus, I ask you to come into my life and be my Lord, Savior, and Friend. Thank you for forgiving me and giving me eternal life. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen” (The Book of Hope, 53).
This is followed by the statement “If you prayed this prayer and meant it, you can be sure God has forgiven you and received you into his family.”
 And Samuel said unto the people, Fear not: ye have done all this wickedness: yet turn not aside from following the LORD, but serve the LORD with all your heart;
 The anger of the LORD shall not return, until he have executed, and till he have performed the thoughts of his heart: in the latter days ye shall consider it perfectly.
 But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.
 For this commandment which I command thee this day, it is not hidden from thee, neither is it far off. It is not in heaven, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go up for us to heaven, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it? Neither is it beyond the sea, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go over the sea for us, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it? But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou mayest do (obey) it.
 He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them.
 The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit
(Psa 84:8) O LORD God of hosts, hear my prayer: give ear, O God of Jacob. Selah.
(Psa 84:9) Behold, O God our shield, and look upon the face of thine anointed.
The final conclusion is a prayer of hopeful remembrance. The Psalmist is asking for God to once again turn His face to him and bless him with a return to the courts of the Lord. It brings to mind 2 Chronicles 7:14-15, which reads:
If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. Now mine eyes shall be open, and mine ears attent unto the prayer that is made in this place.
I take it, and I alone it seems, that when the Psalmist refers to the God of Jacob (instead of the three Patriarchs) that he might just have in mind Jacob’s separation from his homeland, God’s promise to bring him back (Gen 28:20) and how God brought him once again to the house of the Lord (Bethel)
(Psa 84:10) For a day in thy courts is better than a thousand. I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness.
‘Courts’ here is the same as in verse 2. Here again, to be even in the outer reaches of the tabernacles of God is better than to dwell with the wicked. The Psalmist would rather be a servant (again, Prodigal Son) in the house of his God, then to be well thought of. The phrase is literally, “I choose to sit at the threshold.” Reminds one of the woman with the blood disease who only desired to touch the hem of the garment of Christ. For those separated from God, just a glimpse, a taste, or a touch of God seems better to them than all that they have around them.
(Psa 84:11) For the LORD God is a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.
The Lord is the source of light and warmth and brings Creation to life. He will give mercy and honor and will hold back nothing that we need if we walk undefiled.
(Psa 84:12) O LORD of hosts, blessed is the man that trusteth in thee.
Thus the completion of the Psalm, summed up with a single line. Had David walked undefiled before God and kept God as a refuge, hope, trust, then he would not have been separated from God.
Again, we turn to Isaac Watts:
The Lord his people loves;
His hand no good withholds
From those his heart approves:
From pure and pious souls
Thrice happy he,
O God of Hosts,
Whose spirit trust
Alone in Thee!