“But the challenge is always this: Are men and women going to allow the Word of God to sit in judgment on their puny minds, or are they going to make their puny minds the judges of the Word of God?
We have taken the latter course as a culture. So there is mass confusion today—even in the evangelical church—over whether the Bible is true and over how far we should go in obeying it.”
–Alistair Begg, The Hand of God
“I listen to some of you guys out there, hyper-reformed boys, you’re concerned if you preach the gospel to the wrong person, the wrong person might get saved. So you don’t want to preach it too good, ‘well wait a minute, I don’t think you should’ve been getting saved, I’m not sure you’re in the group.’ What do you mean in the group! If you breath you’re in the group! If you have ears to hear you’re in the group! And if you choose not to respond it’s your own fault, not God’s.”
–Alistair Begg from Monday’s Truth For Life broadcast
“Undefined Christianity is not a problem in our generation. It is defined Christianity that brings the rub.”
“Faith is not a soft option offered to people who need a crutch to get through the rest of their lives. Faith is the supernatural activity of God whereby He opens blind eyes, unstops deaf ears, and a man or a woman says- “I see it now. I get it now. I am going to trust in God. I am going to trust in Jesus.”
“I remain fascinated by the variety of approaches that preachers take in preparing their sermons. In our preparation, as well as in our delivery we must ‘to our own selves be true.’ When I am asked to summarize my method of preparation, I mention the following points, which I learned from the late Leith Samuel….
1. Think yourself empty. As strange as it may sound, we must be careful to ensure that we do not avoid sound thinking. The temptation to respond emotionally to a passage (this is how this makes me feel) is not unique to our listeners. If we are to have ‘thinking’ congregations it is incumbant upon us to be ‘thinking’ pastors’! We do not want to be uncertain by the time our study ends, but it is surely right and proper to begin with the perspective, ‘I must know what this says, and I must learn what this means.’
2. Read yourself full.
3. Write yourself clear. Aside from the essential empowering of the Holy Spirit, if there is one single aspect of sermon preparation that I would want to emphasise, it is this. Freedom of delivery in the pulpit depends upon careful organisation in the study. We may believe that we have a grasp of the text, only to stand up and discover that somewhere between our thinking and our speaking things have gone badly awry. The missing link can usually be traced back to the absence of putting our thoughts down clearly.
4. Pray yourself hot. There is no chance of fire in the pews if there is an iceberg in the pulpit! Without prayer and communion with God during the preparation stages, the pulpit will be cold. In 1752 John Shaw reminded the incumbent pastor beginning his charge in Cambridge, Massachusetts: ‘All will be in vain, to no saving purpose, until God is pleased to give the increase. And in order to do this, God looks for prayers to come up to His ears. A praying minister is always the way to have a succesful ministry.”
5. Be yourself, but don’t preach yourself. A good teacher, like John the Baptist, clears the way, declares the way, and then gets out of the way.”
“There is no offense whatsoever in going to India, into the heart of Hinduism, Buddhism, and Islam and declaring that we are there to talk about social justice and public policy and the concerns of poverty. There is no shame in that.
All of the shame lies in going there to declare that Jesus isSovereign Lord, He is the Savior, and He is the only way. And it is that message which is foolishness in India and foolish in America which is the message that we have been called to proclaim and to live, and the implications of which put the foot down in the realm of justice and in the concerns of poverty and so on.
But I have a sneaking suspicion and an increasingly deep-seated concern that there is here in North America a growing loss of confidence in the Bible itself as the unerring word of God and an increasing willingness to play fast and loose with the uniqueness of the claims of Jesus of Nazareth, and to the extent that that is true, the cutting edge of world evangelization is radically affected.”
“When we turn luxuries into necessities, we jeopardize our ability for contentedness.”