Posts Tagged ‘grace gems’

Practical Sermons, Spurgeon, and Reading Good Sermons

July 26, 2010 Comments off

In a recent post over at Pyromaniacs, Dan Phillips discussed different types of sermons, and noted a weakness in C.H. Spurgeon, that Spurgeon always preached on the doctrinal portions but never on the practical Christian living texts (such as in Ephesians 5, etc.).  I can certainly see that point:  even when Spurgeon chose such texts he would turn the subject away from the part dealing with, say, a husband’s duty, and focus instead on Christ.  Yet in my own reading through Spurgeon’s sermons, I have found many great treasures of wisdom for practical life:  the exhortations and practical advice included within the context of an overall doctrinal sermon, much as the New Testament epistles often begin with chapters of doctrine, followed by chapters of practical application.

Grace Gems well points out the great benefits from reading good sermons, benefits I have only begun to appreciate in my reading through the early Spurgeon sermon volumes:

The reading of good sermons is the most underrated kind of Christian literature on the market today. In former centuries, the reading of sermons was the bulk of the mature Christian’s reading diet. Most Puritan books, for example, are sermons edited for print. Sermon reading keeps believers in the Word, matures the soul, and whets the appetite for good preaching. It promotes Christ-centered thinking, healthy self-examination, and godly piety in every sphere of life.

Consider the following practical words from Spurgeon:

  • continuous exhortations to study the Bible for oneself
  • advice to pray for those who do not understand some of the Bible’s teachings as we do, instead of trying to win them by mere words

Says one, “How can I do God’s business? I have no talent, I have no money. All I earn in the week I have to spend and I have scarce money enough to pay my rent. I have no talent. I could not teach in a Sunday-School.” Brother, have you a child? Well, there is one door of usefulness for you. Sister, you are very poor. No one knows you. You have a husband and however drunk he may be, there is a door of usefulness for you. Bear up under all his insults, be patient under all his taunts and jeers and you can serve God and do God’s business so.

“But, Sir I am sick, it is only today I am able to get out at all. I am always on my bed.” You can do your Master’s business, by lying on a bed of suffering for Him, if you do it patiently. The soldier who is ordered to lie in the trenches, is just as obedient as the man who is ordered to storm the breach. In everything you do you can serve your God. Oh, when the heart is rightly tuned in this matter we shall never make excuses and say, “I cannot be about my Father’s business.”

“How, then,” says one, “am I to make my calling and election sure?” Why, thus—if you would get out of a doubting state—get out of an idle state. If you would get out of a trembling state, get out of an indifferent lukewarm state. …Wherein shall you be diligent? Note how the Scripture has given us a list. Be diligent in your faith. … And when you have given diligence about that, give diligence next to your courage. Labor to get virtue. Plead with God that He would give you the face of a lion, that you may never be afraid of any enemy—however much he may jeer or threaten you but that you may with a consciousness of right, go on, boldly trusting in God. And having, by the help of the Holy Spirit, obtained that, study well the Scriptures and get knowledge. For a knowledge of doctrine will tend very much to confirm your faith. Try to understand God’s Word. Get a sensible, spiritual idea of it.  Get, if you can, a system of divinity out of God’s Bible. Put the doctrines together. Get real, theological knowledge, founded upon the infallible Word. … And when you have done this, “Add to your knowledge temperance.” Take heed to your body—be temperate there. Take heed to your soul—be temperate there. Be not drunken with pride. Be not lifted up with self-confidence. Be temperate. Be not harsh towards your friends, nor bitter to your enemies. Get temperance of lip, temperance of life, temperance of heart, temperance of thought. … Array yourself with patience, that you may not murmur in your sicknesses.  That you may not curse God in your losses, nor be depressed in your afflictions.