Christian Library Australia

...because God cares about you

  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size
Home Church Planting/Missional Preaching Themes For Young Church Planters to Emphasize

Preaching Themes For Young Church Planters to Emphasize

E-mail Print PDF


Preaching Themes For Young Church Planters to Emphasize

This is an edited version of “A Pastor’s confession of Heavy Shepherding.” The author’s

name is withheld to protect the his good name, ministry and the honour of Christ’s Church

The Editor


1. Emphasize the Lamb of God, with his gentleness, His love, His forgiveness,

Jesus’ compassion, His tenderness and acceptance of His people, and his work on the cross.

The writer who helped me sort this out in my own thinking was Charles Bridges. His

section on the 'Scriptural Preaching of the Gospel,' pp 239-283, in “The Christian

Ministry” is excellent. A study of the book of Galatians was exceedingly helpful as

well; especially “Galatians” by J.R.Stott.


2. Emphasize the precious biblical truths of simple faith in Christ, (II Cor. II:I-4),

the Lord's longing to save sinners (II Peter 3:9) and the freeness of the offer of

Himself to all men (Matt. II:28-30). After reading scores of Spurgeon's sermons,

I knew my own heart had been 'restricted' in love to Christ and offering him throughout

tile entire sermon to the lost. Spurgeons's sermon on I Cor 2:2 was significant in this

regard, reshaping my thinking rightly.


I felt the lack of these first two Conclusions in my own experience. The minimizing of

the Lamb of God explained why I became increasingly narrow in evangelistic

methodology and shamefully barren in my Concern for foreign missions. My lack in

these areas had little to-do with the debate concerning 'exclusive Local church

missiology vs. Cooperation in missions.' With the help of Bridges and Spurgeon --

change came, evangelistic endeavors were revived and a biblical and practical use

of a mission service was no longer a problem.


3. Emphasize the was the preaching manner and demeanor of the preacher

of preachers; Jesus Christ. The Comments of Dr. E.J. Young, in his commentary

on The Book of Isaiah, especially Isaiah 42: I-4 were convicting with respect to my

own preaching style. One does not necessarily need to hit a high volume in order to

have authority. In many ways I had to unlearn much of what I saw in preaching style

and start over. J.R.W. Stott's 'The Portrait of a Preacher' was exceedingly helpful to me.


4. Emphasize the priesthood of all believers,' the privileges of (Acts 2:42 ), and the

legitimate place of the gifts and talents of every believer in the body of Christ. John

Owen's article on 'Mutual Duties in Church Fellowship', All fifteen of them, in

Volume I3 of his works, is illuminating. God's people have so much to offer each other

and their pastors. It should not be suppressed but rather unleashed.


5. Emphasize the need to look at 'the fields that are white unto harvest.' My heart was

richly blessed and convicted by an article written by John Murray, titled 'The Church

and Missions' (Volume I of his Collected Writings). I was convinced that I had an

adequate confession of faith (I689) and that the tremendous need of the hour was to

love sinners, go to sinners, and win them to Jesus.


6. Emphasize the the nearness and tenderness of the Chief Shepherd.

I Thes. 2:7-8, Rom. I:II - I2 and similar texts convinced me that

'remoteness and withdrawal' were not the way to practice the pastoral office. Again

J.R.W. Stott's 'The Portrait of the Preacher’ proved relevant to this issue.


7. Emphasize the the Great Commission and the spiritual needs of millions of

people were multitudes 'beat down to the ground, like sheep without a shepherd.' I

studied the book, Five Pioneer Missionaries, and was also persuaded from Scripture

that the masses of humanity on earth could never be reached if cooperation among

churches for this task was not developed. God helped me to break the fears of

rejection by some, in order to see the indispensable value of cooperating with others

in this effort. The debate between Thornwell and Hodge was helpful; but Thornwell

was a Presbyterian. Hence many of his points did not persuade me of his position.


8. Emphasize the the uplifting, encouraging, victorious truths and experiences of union

with Christ and the Indwelling of the Spirit. Also understanding the relationship of the i

imperative to the indicative mood in passages relating to the sanctifying process helped to

clarify this issue. Looking at Col. I:I-5, Rom 8: I-I3, and Heb I2:I-2: A study of the Greek

participles and verbs in these passages was helpful to me. Also, the great truth of 'adoption'

brought such peace to my heart. Who helped? Sinclair Ferguson with Children of the Living God,

J.I.Packer and his Knowing God, in the chapter on Sons of God. the truth of adoption more than

any other, highlights for me the distinction between the religion I had known, where I was

headed from the early I980's.


9. Emphasize the true church of Christ in every denomination, on missionary

boards and in secular and Christian schools. One of the errors, which characterized

my past religion, was that the fields that were white unto harvest were not so much

publicans and sinners, as fellow Christians who had not arrived at 'theological nirvana'.

Hence, dear Christians became the subject matter of zealous efforts of the theologically elite.

The Lord in His kind providence put a book in my path years ago, which had a

tremendous effect on my life. The Memoir and Remains of R4M. McCheyne is a high

but human expression of the Christian ministry. An article is included in the book

titled 'Communion with Brethren of other Denominations'. His views were

revolutionary to my thinking.


I0. Emphasize the the biblical truths of Christian love, compassion, kindness, mercy,

longsuffering, forgiveness, the fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22-3 ). Texts like Col 3: I2-I 3, I

Cor I3:4-Ba, Eph 4:32 , and 4:I-2, Phil 2: I-2 and I Peter 4:8-li, needed extensive

preaching and application to the life of the church; and the Beatitudes (Matt 5 )

needed exposition, elaboration and application as well. To my knowledge these

themes were seldom the subject matter of Bible conferences and often demeaned as

subjectivismI sentimentalism or emotional Christianity. Dr. William Hendricksen's

commentaries on these subjects became my solace and his expositions convinced

me that in my ministry and in the religion I was in these 'prominent biblical themes'

needed much more attention. In my opinion, Dr. Jay Adams' book on From Forgiven

to Forgiving needs serious consideration.


11. Emphasize the the need for a gentle, mild and accepting approach toward those who

simply could not accept every theological tenant of a given system. The attitude of

'come up to where I am' seemed to violate other similar texts and I Cor I4. A host of

well knew, contemporary preachers of the Reformed faith became my example in

this regard. I listened to their tapes, read their books and discovered a world of

Christian demeanor, gentle manners, social tactfulness and Christian acceptance,

which rebuked me. These examples stirred a desire to make changes in my own

manner and attitude toward brethren who differed theologically.


I2. Emphasize a balanced Christian Ministry

I fled to Spurgeon's Lectures to my tudents and Bridges' The Christian Ministry and

other books to rearrange my thinking on the Christian ministry. My quest for answers

and my pursuit of 'normal  Christianity' came to a climax when I listened to 3 lectures

on the Pastoral Lessons  from the Marrow Controversy, given by Sinclair Ferguson in the

early 80's at a  Banner of Truth Conference at Calvin College. I listened again and again to

these tapes. I now knew what my wrestling was about. These tapes set me free to see the dangerous

entanglements and 'subtle error' in my heart and the 'unbalanced theology' given to me a

quarter century ago. For they exposed the error of 'conditional grace' and the crippling

legalism that inevitably results. And that is exactly where we had ended up 'at the end of the day.'

When these conclusions began to settle into convictions, I knew I had to make some

difficult decisions and choices however, what a comfort it is to be cared for by the blessed

Comforter. I am grateful for many of my sheep and friends who were able to make the changes

and begin to live in the fullness of our Lord Jesus Christ. The Lord Jesus is more precious each

day and the truths of God's Word, which He has taught us, is sustaining, encouraging

and delivering us. Amen



Last Updated on Thursday, 27 November 2014 10:37  

Follow us on Twitter