Empower Your Prayer

WayToPrayAs a wise man once said: “of making many books there is no end” (Ecclesiastes 12:12). This would have to include books on prayer. For some of us, it would be easier to spend less time in prayer and read a book on prayer.

Matthew Henry’s A Way to Pray is different. The whole book is full of actual prayers based on Scripture. He considered this book (originally called Method for Prayer) more important than his famous commentary on the whole Bible, that he actually stopped working on his commentary to work on this book (xi). This edition was updated by O. Palmer Robertson and his students at the African Bible University of Uganda. The different sections include: Praise, Confession, Petition, Thanksgiving, and Intercession.

Here is a prayer from the Petition section:

Pray that God will work compassion and brotherly love in you. Lord, put in us the love toward one another that perfects our unity. Enable us to keep the oneness of the Spirit in the bond of peace. Let us live in love and peace, that you, the God of love and peace, may be with us. Give us the grace to love our neighbour as ourselves, with that love which fulfills all the requirements of the law. Let us love one another with a pure heart fervently, that all men may know we are Christ’s disciples. Col 3:14; Eph 4:3; 2 Cor 13:11; Rom 13:9, 10; I Pet 1:22; John 13:35 (104). 

That prayer packs a punch because it is packed full of God’s Word. What could be a better way to empower our prayers than to pray the promises and commands of God? This book does not equip us for the battle of prayer, but drops us right into the fight by giving us the best words to pray. Yes, we should talk and teach about praying God’s Word, but the task before us is actually praying God’s Word. And Matthew Henry’s Scripture-infused prayers are one way to direct us in this pursuit of God.

I highly recommend this book! You can find a different edition online.

(On side note, two books I have enjoyed on prayer are A Call to Spiritual Reformation by D.A. Carson and Praying Backwards by Bryan Chapell.)

Scripture and Decisions

Wise CounselDo we believe that Scripture gives wisdom for making decisions? I certainly hope so. But how do we use Scripture in our decision making? Yesterday I posted about the treasure John Newton stored for us in his letters to John Ryland Jr. In this letter, Newton exposes the fickleness of our hearts in our use of Scripture.

“Texts of Scripture brought powerfully to the heart are very desirable and pleasant, if their tendency is to humble us, to give us a more feeling sense of the preciousness of Christ, or of the doctrines of grace; if they make sin more hateful, enliven our regard to the means [of grace], or increase our confidence in the power and faithfulness of God.

But if they are understood as intimating [indicating] our path of duty in particular circumstances, or confirming in us purposes we may have already formed, not otherwise clearly warranted by the general strain of the word, or by the leading of Providence, they are for the most part ensnaring, and always to be suspected. Nor does their coming into the mind at the time of prayer give them more authority in this respect.

When the mind is intent upon any subject, the imagination is often watchful to catch anything which may seem to countenance [support] the favourite pursuit. It is too common to ask counsel of the Lord when we have already secretly determined for ourselves. And in this disposition we may easily be deceived by the sound of a text of Scripture, which, detached from the passage in which it stands, may seem remarkably to tally with our wishes.” p 55-56

What is our goal when we read and study the Bible? Is to exalt Christ and humble us, or is to get God’s nod to the decisions we have already made? Do we toss exegesis when it comes to making personal decisions? Yes, the Word is sufficient, but we are not. We need godly men and women giving us counsel from the Scriptures, because they can see what we are blind to because of our desires.

This is not merely a discussion of exegesis, but one of authority. God has determined his words and their use. As James 1:21 says: “Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.”

*This quote is from the book linked above.

 

Looking for Revival ?

NEWTON2_360The hymn Amazing Grace is not the only treasure John Newton left for us. Although this slave-trader turned pastor is well-known for his hymn writing, his letters to fellow Christians and pastors were also preserved as precious jewels.

I am slowly reading through a collection of 83 letters Newton penned to the Baptist pastor John Ryland Jr. Even though Newton was over 25 years older than Ryland, and an Anglican, they were dear Christian brothers. Newton has piercing and comforting words for fellow Christians and pastors. I especially appreciate his honest words on the need for revival.

“A revival is wanted with us at Olney as well as with you at Northampton, and I trust some of us are longing for it. We are praying and singing for one.” p 45

“Do you ask how it is with me? Just as the weather is this morning. My heart is cold as the snow under foot, and cloudy as the sky over my head. Not a beam of sunshine, but it is a mercy to have daylight. It will not be always winter, though it has been a long winter with me. We want a revival at Olney both for the shepherd and the sheep. Yet my mouth is not stopped. I can sometimes talk loud and look big in the pulpit, but how different a creature am I being the scenes! Enter not into judgment with thy servant.” p 49

Do we desire God’s supernatural work in the church and in our community? We must desire it first for ourselves, and express it in our prayers, songs, and sermons. Newton plodded on praying and singing for revival with a gray and cloudy soul, thankful for God’s mercy.

*The quotes are from the book linked above.

 

 

Kill Sin

OwenJohn Owen is a hound, hot on the trail of indwelling sin. In his work Of the Mortification of Sin in Believers, Owen contends against the power of sin and stocks the believer’s arsenal to battle this foe. Mortification, or putting sin to death, is not an end in itself, but is for the glory of God:

“…that mortification and universal holiness may be promoted in my own and in the hearts and ways of others, to the glory of God; that so the gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ may be adorned in all things…” (42)

In Part 1 of this work, he establishes the necessity of mortification. If you want the straight-up espresso of his argument, here are several potent sentences.

“The choicest believers, who are assuredly freed from the condemning power of sin, ought yet to make it their business all their days to mortify the indwelling power of sin.” (47)

“The vigor, and power, and comfort of our spiritual life depends on the mortification of the deeds of the flesh.” (49)

“Do mortify; do you make it your daily work; be always at it while you live; cease not a day from this work; be killing sin or it will be killing you.” (50).

Kill sin in the power of the Spirit for the glory of the Christ.

*Quotes are from the edition linked above.

The Grace of Terror

Certainly we know that pride is an abomination to God (Proverbs 6:16-17), but how do we fight pride in our own lives and how do we give counsel to others who are struggling with it? As with any battle, there are different weapons that can be used against pride. Here is one weapon that I noticed recently, the weapon of God’s terror.

Isaiah 2:10-11- Enter into the rock and hide in the dust from before the terror of the Lord, and from the splendor of his majesty. The haughty looks of man shall be brought low, and the lofty pride of men shall be humbled; and the Lord alone will be exalted in that day.

Since pride is an affront to God’s glory, he will fight against it, and will alone be exalted. Notice here that God does not overwhelm pride with sparkling waves of his mercy, but with the dark billows of his terror. Obviously, Isaiah is not speaking to us, right? We quickly forget that God has other attributes besides love. Here is what James 4:6-10 says:

But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” 7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.

Notice God’s response to the pride of believers: opposition. What is to be our response when we find pride in our lives? Cleanse our hands! Purify our hearts! Be wretched! Mourn! Weep!

Certainly this is not what we need to hear today; it’s not very encouraging. Contrary to the beliefs of our culture and much of Christianity, this, in fact, is a proper response when we have drawn distant from God and sought our own glory. God opposes our sin and our path when we are drawing near to self and the world and not to him. This is the weapon against pride. Not the glory of God’s mercy, but the glory of his terror against pride. As Isaiah did, when we see God’s manifold perfections in their brilliance, we will cry, “Woe is me!”

However, as believers, we are not left with just God’s terror against our sin, but a God who is completely gracious to us in Christ. Because of Christ, God’s terror is for our good. Our terror-engendered sorrow over our sin leads to repentance, leads us to God. We are urged to draw near to God and receive his grace for our battle against pride. In other words, drawing near to God (humility) gets us more of God (grace).

So, one weapon in our arsenal in our battle against pride is to feel the terror of God. God will not let his glory be tarnished, and he expresses that in his opposition our pride. The fear of God’s judgment, a view of his terror against anything that robs him of his glory, drives away pride. In pride’s place grows humility, given and grown by grace. For believers, God’s terror against pride is all of grace because it drives away godlessness and drives us back to God. It is the grace of terror.

Those Haunting Verses

I have been haunted by these verses for more than a year now. They haunt me because they are quite uncomfortable. They do not fit well with the theology I learned in Bible college and hear preached in the branches of the American church with which I am familiar. They haunt me even more because I do not practice them.

Hebrews 3:12-14

12 Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. 13 But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. 14 For we have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end.

Normally I hear verses like these dismissed with comments like this: “Remember, once you are saved, you are always saved” or “This is a difficult passage; we need to stick to the clear passages of Scripture.” This only works for a while. If you read the book of Hebrews, you will discover repeated calls to persevere in the faith. The teaching of this passage is sufficiently clear to warrant our understanding and obedience.

Let me offer a brief exposition. Verse 12 speaks of the danger of falling away from God: something which happened to the rebellious generation of Israelites. The cause of falling away is an unbelieving heart. The remedy to this danger is given in verse 14: holding our original confidence firm to the end. The means that this remedy is applied is exhortation in the context of the body of Christ. This is daily exhortation, which is everything from comfort to rebuke. This exhortation by brothers and sisters in Christ keeps us from being hardened by the deceitfulness of the sin of unbelief.

Although it would be helpful to offer a full-orbed theology of perseverance here (especially for myself!), it will suffice to say the following.

1. Christ saves his people completely and eternally: For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified (Heb 10:14).

2. God’ people will persevere to the end; that is, their faith will continue to the end: For we have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end (Heb 3:14). Those who do not perverse in their faith do not belong to Christ.

3. God uses the warnings of Scripture and his people to keep us in the faith (these verses!).

I need to hear words like this: For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised (Heb 10:36). I need to exhort my wife with words like this. I need to speak these truths to my brothers and sisters in Christ. We need to hear often of Christ, his sacrifice, and his perseverance for our sake and for our example. Our souls are at stake! These exhortations are one way God keeps us in the faith.

What will be our response be, then, to the Hebrews 3:12-14 and passages like it? We can ignore God’s commands and falsely assure people that they will inherit eternal life because they prayed a prayer. We can ignore these passages and so ignore the sin the lives of our brothers and sisters because we don’t want to judge them. We do this to our own peril.

We can chose to obey God’s commands and therefore bolster the confidence (faith) of other believers. As John Piper has said: eternal security is a community project. We can chose to proclaim these verses in our churches as a means of wakefulness for the mere professors of Christianity. If I ignore these verses I am disobeying God’s Word. I am overwhelmed that God still chooses to love me in his Son when I lack the courage to speak into the lives of others.

All of us as believers need endurance to finish the face well. Let us be the means of endurance to others as we point them—and ourselves—to Christ who has gone before us.

Presuppositions in Preaching

My journey in preaching started out on a hot, mosquito-filled Wednesday night in Guyana, South America. I was a teenager and was giving a challenge from a gospel. It was an out-of-body experience, but I survived. Looking back, I wonder if the faithful Guyanese believers understood anything that skinny white American said.

I had one preaching class in college, as well as many opportunities to critique preaching that took place four or five times a week in chapel. As I started into my master’s degree, I began to have chances to fill the pulpit at the church I was attending. And by God’s grace, I am now an assistant pastor at that church, and I preach about once a month. I have thought much about preaching as I continue to listen to sermons and preach my own. I have read several books on preaching, and continue to read articles about preaching.

I know everyone has presuppositions about preaching, but do you know yours? This post is my attempt to make explicit some of my presuppositions about preaching. These are some of my thoughts, and this list could be expanded. I hope to continue to grow in this important calling.

Power in the Word The power for salvation and sanctification is in the Word of God. The gospel is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes (Rom 1:16). The power is not in rhetoric or performance, but in clearly presenting God’s Word. II Corinthians 4:2: “But we have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways. We refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God’s word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God.”

Focus on a text Every sermon must be an exposition of God’s Word. Paul says to Timothy, “Preach the word” (I Tim 4:1-2). I’m not sure what else a pastor would want to preach. This allows for exegetical sermon that works through one passage, or for a topical sermon that works through several different passages. When I preach topically, I try to focus on a specific passage, so I can be faithful to God’s Word and so the congregation is not bounced around through the Bible.

Point to Christ Spurgeon said, “I take my text, and make a bee-line to the cross.” Whether in the OT or NT, we need to anchor our exposition in the work of Christ. This is how the Word of God is powerful for salvation. Paul says it this way: “And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another” (II Corinthians 3:18). If people do not have Christ, they do not have salvation and do not have the power for sanctification.

Preach Law and Gospel This is a corollary of the previous point. If preaching the cross brings salvation, the law does not bring that salvation. We preach the law for conviction of unbelievers and believers, and to instruct believers how to walk before God. Without the gospel, there is no power or biblical motivation to obey God’s law. We need both, and both must be correctly related to the other. Titus 2:11-12: “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age…”

Holy Spirit The Holy Spirit is the one who takes God’s Word and applies it effectively to our souls. We need God the Spirit at work as we preach, not only in our hearts but also the hearts of our people.

Prayer Because preaching is an impossible task, we need God’s help. That is why I pray as I begin preaching. Another reason why I pray then is that it calms my mind and slows me down (I tend to speak quickly).

Main point Because I want to communicate clearly, I make sure I can explain my sermon in one sentence. This helps not only me but the congregation to leave the sermon knowing what it was all about.

Specific application I believe that God’s Word has bearing on all of life. The epistles are quite clear about how we need to think and act in response to God’s Word. When I can tell my congregation how the text impacts the way they live, I know it has filtered down into my soul.

Illustrate The next time you read an epistle, a gospel, or Proverbs, notice how often illustrations are used. Illustrations bring an idea to life and help people latch onto what is being taught. Preaching is not meant to be inaccessible, but clear to our congregation.

Humor Because I love my congregation, I want them to stay focused during the 30-40 minutes in which I preach. It helps to use humor not only to illustrate, but also to give a mental break. I enjoy a preacher who uses humor effectively, how much more my congregation.

Some books on preaching:

He Is Not Silent by Albert Mohler

Between Two Worlds by John Stott

Preaching and Preachersby D.M. Lloyd-Jones

Lectures to My Students by Charles Spurgeon

200 Online Preaching Resources

Fasting: Do You Love Jesus More Than Food?

Recently I preached on fasting, and I would like to post the outline to my sermon, and then, in manuscript form, my five points explaining why Christians should fast. I would like to hear your comments on this topic that we rarely discuss.

Fasting: Jesus > Food

 Main point: Fasting shows that we desire Jesus more than any pleasure this world can offer.

 A. Foodology

Old Testament: Do not eat bacon

New Testament: Eat bacon if you want (Mark 7:19)

1. We are free to eat what we want- I Timothy 4:1-3

Danger: We can love food more than Jesus: Philippians 3:19

2. We can be enslaved by what we eat- I Corinthians 6:12-13

Danger: We think eating or not eating certain foods makes us more acceptable to God:

I Corinthians 8:8

B. Isaiah 58: The Heart of Fasting

Fasting demonstrates:

1. Our desire for God

2. Our desperation for God

C. Fastology

-I have fasted before, but I am certainly a beginner

-Not everyone can fast from food or all food: Talk to your doctor

-Fasting is done not to control God; it is not done to show off to others.

Why do we fast?

1. To test and increase our desire for God (Isaiah 58)

What do we desire more, the gifts or the Giver?

“It’s a physical exclamation point at the end of the sentence, ‘We hunger for you, O God, to come in power.’ It’s a cry with our body, not just our soul: ‘I really mean it, Lord! This much, I hunger for you. I want the manifestation of you yourself more than I want food.'” – John Piper

2. To devote ourselves to prayer and fellowship with God

-The Bible often connects prayer and fasting

-Give up breakfast and lunch and spend that time to read God’s Word and pray.

“Here there is no extortion, no magic attempt to force God’s will. We merely look with confidence upon our heavenly Father and through our fasting say gently in our hearts: ‘Father, without you I will die; come to my assistance, make haste to help me.'” -Joseph Wimmer

-Maybe God’s means of answering your prayers for healing or salvation of loved one is prayer and fasting.

3. To fight sin

-Matthew 4:1-4: Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. 3 And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” 4 But he answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

-Jesus’ forty day fast was one of the means by which he fought temptation.

“Fasting is a periodic–and sometimes decisive–declaration that we would rather feast at God’s table in the kingdom of heaven than feed on the finest delicacies of this world.” – John Piper

4. To ask God for revival and missionaries

Acts 13:1-3: Now there were in the church at Antioch prophets and teachers, Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen a lifelong friend of Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. 2 While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” 3 Then after fasting and praying they laid their hands on them and sent them off.

Carl Lundquist, former president of Bethel College and Seminary, speaks of his journey in understanding fasting: “My own serious consideration of fasting as a spiritual discipline began as a result of visiting Dr. Joon Gon Kim in Seoul, Korea. “Is it true,” I asked him, “that you spent 40 days in fasting prior to the evangelism crusade in 1980?” “Yes, ” he responded, “it is true.” Dr. Kim was chairman of the crusade expected to bring a million people to YoidoPlaza. But six months before the meeting the police informed him they were revoking their permission for the crusade. Korea at that time was in political turmoil and Seoul was under martial law. The officers decided they could not take the risk of having so many people together in one place. So Dr. Kim and some associates went to a prayer mountain and there spent 40 days before God in prayer and fasting for the crusade. Then they returned and made their way to the police station. “Oh,” said the officer when he saw Dr. Kim, “we have changed our mind and you can have your meeting!”

As I went back to the hotel I reflected that I had never fasted like that. Perhaps I had never desired a work of God with the same intensity . . . His body is marked by many 40 day fasts during his long spiritual leadership of God’s work in Asia. Also, however, I haven’t seen the miracles Dr. Kim has.”

5. To look for Christ’s return

Matthew 9:14-15 (25:1-13): Then the disciples of John came to him, saying, “Why do we and the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?” 15 And Jesus said to them, “Can the wedding guests mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast.

“The absence of fasting is indicative of our comfort with the way things are. No one fasts to express how content they are. People only fast out of dissatisfaction. ‘The attendants of the bridegroom cannot mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them, can they? But the days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast’ (Matthew 9:15). The absence of fasting is the measure of our contentment with the absence of Christ.” -John Piper

Conclusion:

1. Do you love Jesus more than food? Prove it.

2. Do you desire God?

Jesus said:

“I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.” (John 6:35)

“If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink.” (John 7:37)

Lies in the Bible

Think with me a bit. Are there lies in the Bible? Does God’s inspired, inerrant Word contain lies? It certainly is all truth, but God has recorded lies in his inerrant Word so we can better know Him who is Truth.

Think of the first lie in the Bible. “You will not surely die” (Genesis 3:4). This lie is in the mouth of the serpent who successfully deceived Eve. The lies continue. In Genesis 4:9, God asks Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?” Cain replies, “I do not know; am I my brother’s keeper?” The lies continue throughout the OT and into the NT. Some lies are clearly marked as such, and some are…well…more difficult to parse. Consider Rahab’s lie to the soldiers of Jericho, when she misdirected them and preserved the spies’ lives. This is very fun to discuss in Sunday School, by the way. There are Christian ethical arguments for and against the morality of Rahab’s lie, but that is not the purpose of this post.

Consider Jephthah’s message to the king of the Ammonites in Judges 11:12-28. We know that Jephthah had a problem with what he said, which was mainly shown by his vow which condemned his daughter to her death. He recounts to the king of the Ammonites some Israelite history. He says this in verse 24, “Will you not posses what Chemosh your god gives you to possess?” This is problematic in two ways. First, Yahweh allots land not only to Israel, but also to the rest of peoples, not a false god! Second, as much as we can tell from archeology, ancient writings, and the rest of the OT, Chemosh was the god of the Moabites, not the Ammonites. The book of Judges does not portray the six major judges in a very good light, and often the later ones make moral blunders. Also, Jephthah’s speech is a part of Hebrew narrative, which uses the actions and speech of it characters to define its characters. However you may understand Jephthah’s speech, we should be wary of gleaning theological truth from his statements (though we can learn about God from the narrative).

This brings me to the book of Job, which I have been reading recently. Job, for most of the book, is surrounded by his three friends, who were miserable comforters. Should we trust what these three friends say about God? Should we even trust what Job says about God while struggling through heart-numbing grief? What does God say? “After the Lord had spoken these words to Job, the Lord said to Eliphaz the Temanite: ‘My anger burns against you and against your two friends, for you have not spoken of me what is right, as my servant Job has'” (Job 42:7). God stands up for what Job said, though we need read Job’s words as words of a mourning man. Its pretty clear that we should be extremely cautious about using the words of Job’s friends in understanding God. I have seen it happen. There are many other clear declarations of who is God in the rest of Scripture, so we do not need to borrow the erroneous mediations of Job’s confused friends. For example, look at Job 4:7 and 5:27.

These lies about God are in a clear context, and are found in a narrative with characters. This is all a part of reading understanding the context of the passage we are reading. I am not saying that certain parts of the Bible are more of God’s Word than others. Scripture is mediated revelation to us. God has used prophets, apostles, and other godly people to pen His Word. God has revealed Himself to us in the Bible, so let us read as it is from God, but let us also read all of it and not forget the context.

Robert Murray M’Cheyne

Robert Murray M’Cheyne (1813-1843) was a Scottish pastor and missionary. He is remembered in the biography by Andrew Bonar, his colleague and friend. Andrew Bonar writes his biography from personal experience and from M’Cheyne’s journal. I recently read this biography and was greatly encouraged by the godly example of M’Cheyne. I would like to pass along some quotes from that biography to you. You can get the biography for Kindle here (for free!).

Note: Andrew Bonar was the brother of Horatius Bonar and John Bonar. All three of them were ministers in Scotland. You may know Horatius Bonar as the author of the hymn I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say.

I noticed that the books that M’Cheyne enjoyed were The Life and Dairy of David Brainerd, The Works of Jonathan Edwards, Charles Bridge’s The Christian Ministry, and The Letters of Samuel Rutherford. The Purtian Richard Baxter is also mentioned. These at least were noted in his journal, and then included by Bonar.

This following quote seems like a personal mission statement (as we would call it today):

“I am persuaded that I shall obtain the highest amount of present happiness, I shall do most for God’s glory and the good of man, and I shall have the fullest reward in eternity, by maintaining a conscience always washed in Christ’s blood, by being filled with the Holy Spirit at all times, and by attaining the most entire likeness to Christ in mind, will, and heart, that is possible for a redeemed sinner to attain to in this world.”

Quotes on communion with God:

“In general, it is best to have at least one hour alone with God, before engaging in anything else.”

“I am persuaded that I ought never to do anything without prayer, and, if possible, special, secret prayer.”

“Never see the face of man till you have seen his face who is our life, our all.”

“Pray for me, that I may be made holier and wiser–less like myself, and more like my heavenly Master.”

Quotes on ministry:

“In his esteem, ‘to be in Christ before being in the ministry was a thing indispensable.”

“I see a man cannot be a faithful minister, until he preaches Christ for Christ’s sake–until he gives up striving to attract people to himself, and seeks only to attract them to Christ. Lord, give me this!”

“It was noticed long ago that men will give you leave to preach against their sins as much as you will, if so be you will but be easy with them when you have done, and talk as they do, and live as they live.”

“I am just an interpreter of Scripture in my sermons; and when the Bible runs dry, then I shall.”

“Now, God wants you to think that the only end of a gospel ministry is that you may be holy. Believe me, God himself could not make you happy except you be holy.”

There is much meat to nourish the soul in this biography. I encourage you to read it!