R3 Alliance | Reformation and Preaching
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Reformation and Preaching

Reformation and Preaching

“When I first came to you, dear brothers and sisters, I didn’t use lofty words and impressive wisdom to tell you God’s secret plan.   For I decided that while I was with you I would forget everything except Jesus Christ, the one who was crucified.  I came to you in weakness—timid and trembling.  And my message and my preaching were very plain. Rather than using clever and persuasive speeches, I relied only on the power of the Holy Spirit.  I did this so you would trust not in human wisdom but in the power of God.”                                                                                                                                                                                      1 Corinthians 2:1-5 NLT

Selections from Spurgeon

It is sadly common among minsters to add a word or subtract a word from the passage, or in some way to debase the language of the sacred writ.  Believers in verbal inspiration should be studiously careful to be verbally correct.  Let us quote the words as they stand in the best possible translation, and it will be better still if we know the original, and can tell if our version fails to give the sense.  How much mischief may arise out of an accidental alteration of the Word![1]

We should resolve that we will quote more of Holy Scripture.  Sermons should be full of Bible; sweetened, strengthened, sanctified with Bible essence.  Bible hearers, when they hear indeed, come to be Bible lovers.[2]

The preaching is Artesian: it wells up from the depth of the soul.  If Christ has not made a well within us, there will be no outflow from us.[3]

An idler has no right in the pulpit.   He is an instrument of Satan in damning the souls of men.  The ministry demands brain labor.  The preacher must read and study to keep his mind in good trim.  Above all, he must put heart work into his preaching. He must feel what he preaches.  It must never be with him an easy thing to deliver a sermon.  He must feel as if he could preach his very life away before the sermon is done.[4]

Spurgeon fixed upon a text, and then, for many years, gave it to his secretary, who was a minister, in his great library, which he had indexed for him, and brought everything that had any bearing on that text, and piled books all around him.  He took those books and read all those things, and then made his outline.  That was his method.[5]

What marvel if, under some men’s shifty talk, people grow into love of both truth and falsehood!  The fact is, they would like anything if only a clever deceiver would put it plausibly before them.  They admire Moses and Aaron, but they would not say a word against Jannes and Jambres.  We shall not join in the confederacy which seems to aim at such a comprehension.  We must preach the gospel so distinctly that our people know what we are preaching.  “If the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself for the battle?”  We shall not hesitate to speak in the strongest Saxon words we can find, and in the plainest sentences we can put together, that which we hold as fundamental truth.[6]

The heart of preaching, the throwing of the soul into it, the earnestness which pleads as for life itself, is half the battle as to gaining attention…Have something to say, and say it earnestly, and the congregation will be at your feet.[7]

Especially is it the Holy Spirit’s work to maintain in us a devotional frame of mind whilst we are discoursing.  This is a condition to be greatly coveted—to continue praying while you are occupied with preaching…to keep the eye on the throne, and the wing in perpetual motion…Oh, to burn in our secret hearts while we blaze before the eyes of others!  This is the work of the Spirit of God.  Work it in us, O adorable Comforter![8]


 “[Even as my preaching has been accompanied] with the power of signs and wonders, [and all of it] by the power of the Holy Spirit.  [The result is] that starting from Jerusalem and as far round as Illyricum, I have fully preached the Gospel [faithfully executing, accomplishing, carry out to the full the good news] of Christ (the Messiah) in its entirety.”                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Romans 15:19 Amplified Bible

[1] The Greatest Fight in the World, C.H. Spurgeon’s “Final Manifesto,” p. 23

[2] The Greatest Fight in the World, C.H. Spurgeon’s “Final Manifesto,” p. 24

[3] C.H. Spurgeon, Metropolitan, Tabernacle Pulpit, Vol. 35, p. 615

[4] C.H. Spurgeon, Metropolitan, Tabernacle Pulpit, Vol. 19, p. 462

[5] G. Campbell Morgan, Preaching, p. 46

[6] The Greatest Fight in the World, C.H. Spurgeon’s “Final Manifesto,” pp. 38-39

[7] C. H. Spurgeon, Lectures to My Students, p. 136

[8] C. H. Spurgeon, Lectures to My Students, p. 193