Preaching: All about the Messenger, the Message, & the Ministry.
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The Preaching Ezine (the newsletter of Preachology.com)
Issue #034, June 29, 2014
What's in this Issue:
1. Is our call based on man or God?
2. July 4th Sermon on "Freedom as Truth" (at bottom of ezine)
3. New sermons, outlines, and illustrations (Some great poems too!)!
4. You could have your own sermon web page on Preachology.com!!
Mark Hollingsworth here. I hope you had a great Father's Day!
Continuing on the thought of being "Called to Preach." So I'm continuing my questions...Is our call based on man or God?
From John Henry Jowett: But how different is the setting in the call of the Prophet Isaiah! Isaiah was a friend of kings: he was a cultured frequenter of courtly circles: he was at home in the precincts of kings' courts. And through what medium did the divine call sound to this man? "In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord." Isaiah had pinned his faith to Uzziah. Uzziah was "the pillar of a people's hopes." Upon his strong and enlightened sovereignty was being built a purified and stable state. And now the pillar had fallen, and it seemed as though all the fair and promising structure would topple with it, and the nation would drop again into uncleanness and confusion.
But on the empty throne Isaiah discovered the presence of
God. A human pillar had crumbled: the Pillar of the universe remained. "In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord." Isaiah had a vision of a mighty God, with a vaster sovereignty, moving and removing men as the ministers of His large and beneficent purpose. Isaiah mourned the fall of a king, and he heard a call to service I "Whom shall I send, and who will go for me?" One man fallen: another man wanted! God's call sounded through the impoverished ranks, and smote the heart and conscience of Isaiah, and Isaiah found his vocation and his destiny. "Here am I, send me!"
I think he is right! What do you think? More on the subject next time!!
2 Tim. 4:2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.
Happy Independence Day!!
...from the Hollingsworth Family.
YOU are a blessing to me and the ministry!
2 Tim. 4:3
For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears...
What's New at Preachology.com?
There are new sermons and some great poems on my website...take a look!
Keep praying for us as we minister at the Prison to the prisoners and the officers and pray as Janey and I minister at the church as well.
I am praying for you and your ministry and enjoy hearing from you with your prayer requests.
PREACHOLOGY BIBLE INSTITUTE...still coming...in 2014!!!
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Freedom as Truth
(A Independence Day Sermon!)
1. The greatness of Christ’s aim — to make all men free. He saw around
Him man in slavery to man, race to race; men trembling before priestcraft,
and those who were politically and ecclesiastically free, in worse bondage
to their own passions. Conscious of His Deity and His Father’s intentions,
He, without the excitement of an earthly liberator, calmly said: “Ye shall be
2. The wisdom of the means. The craving for liberty was not new, nor the
promise of satisfying it; but the promise had been vain. Men had tried —
(1) Force: and force in the cause of freedom is to be honored, and those
who have used it have been esteemed as the world’s benefactors — Judas
Maccabaeus, etc. Had Christ willed so to come, success was certain. Men
were ripe for revolt, and at a word, thrice three hundred thousand swords
would have started from their scabbards; but in that case one nation only
would have gained independence, and that merely from foreign oppression.
(2) Legislative enactments. By this England could and did emancipate her
slaves; but she could not fit them for freedom, nor make it lasting. The
stroke of a monarch’s pen will do the one — the discipline of ages is
needed for the other. Give a constitution tomorrow to some feeble Eastern
nation, and in half a century they will be subjected again. Therefore Christ
did not come to free the world in this way.
(3) Civilization. Every step of civilization is a victory over some lower
instinct; but it contains elements of fresh servitude. Man conquers the
powers of nature, and becomes in turn their slave. The workman is in
bondage to his machinery, which determines hours, wages, habits. The rich
man acquires luxuries, and then cannot do without them. Members of a
highly civilized community are slaves to
dress, hours, etiquette. Therefore
Christ did not talk of the progress of the species; he freed the inner man
that so the outer might become free. Note —
I. THE TRUTH THAT LIBERATES.
The truth Christ taught was chiefly about:
1. God. Blot out that thought and existence becomes unmeaning, resolve is
left without a stay, aspiration and duty without a support. Christ exhibited
God as —
(1) Love; and so that fearful bondage to fate was broken.
(2) A Spirit, requiring spiritual worship; and thus the chain of superstition
was rent asunder.
2. Man. We are a mystery to ourselves. So where nations exhibit their
wealth and inventions, before the victories of mind you stand in reverence.
Then look at those who have attained that civilization, their low aims and
mean lives, and you are humbled. And so of individuals. How noble a given
man’s thoughts at one moment, how base at another I Christ solved this
riddle. He regarded man as fallen,
but magnificent in his ruin. Beneath the
vilest He saw a soul capable of endless growth; hence He treated with
respect all who approached Him, because they were men. Here was a germ
for freedom. It is not the shackle that constitutes the slave, but the loss of
self-respect — to be treated as degraded till he feels degraded. Liberty is to
suspect and yet reverence self.
3. Immortality. If there be an idea that cramps and enslaves the soul it is
that this life is all. If there be one which expands and elevates it it is that of
immortality. This was the martyrs’ strength. In the hope and knowledge of
that truth they were free from the fear of pain of death.
II. THE LIBERTY WHICH TRUTH GIVES.
1. Political freedom. Christianity does not directly interfere with political
questions, but mediately it must influence them. Christ did not promise this
freedom, but He gave it more surely than conqueror, reformer, or patriot.
And this not by theories
or constitutions, but by truths. God a Spirit, man
His redeemed child; before that spiritual equality all distinctions vanish.
2. Mental independence. Slavery is that which cramps powers, and the
worst is that which cramps the noblest powers. Worse therefore than he
who manacles the body is he who puts fetters on the mind, and demands
that men shall think and believe as others have done. In Judaea life was a
set of forms and religion — a congeries of traditions. One living word from
Christ, and the mind of the world was free. Later a mountain mass of
superstition had gathered round the Church. Men said that the soul was to
be saved only by doing what the priesthood taught. Then the heroes of the
Reformation said the soul is saved by the grace of God; and once more the
mind of the world was set flee by truth. There is a tendency to think, not
what is true, but what is respectable, authorized. It comes partly from
cowardice, partly from habit. Now truth
frees us from this by warning of
individual responsibility which cannot be delegated to another, and thrown
off on a church. Do not confound mental independence with mental pride.
It ought to co-exist with the deepest humility. For that mind alone is free
which, conscious of its liability to err, and, turning thankfully to any light,
refuses to surrender the Divinely given right and responsibility of judging
for itself and having an opinion of its own.
3. Superiority to temptation. It is not enough to say that Christ promises
freedom from sin. Childhood, paralysis, impotence of old age, may remove
the desire of transgressions. Therefore we must add that ode whom Christ
liberates is free by his own will. It is not that he would and cannot; but that
he can and will not. Christian liberty is right well sustained by love, and
made firm by faith in Christ. This may be seen by considering moral
bondage. Go to the intemperate man in the morning, when his head
and his whole frame unstrung: he is ashamed, hates his sin, and would not
do it. Go to him at night when the power of habit is upon him, and he
obeys the mastery of his craving. Every more refined instance of slavery is
just as real. Wherever a man would and cannot, there is servitude.
4. Superiority to fear. Fear enslaves, courage liberates. The apprehension
of pain, fear of death, dread of the world’s laugh at poverty, or loss of
reputation, enslave alike. From all such Christ frees. He who lives in the
habitual contemplation of immortality, cannot be in bondage to time; he
who feels his soul’s dignity cannot cringe. (F. W. Robertson, M. A.)
Spiritual and scientific truth: — There is a well-known picture by Retzsch,
in which Satan is represented as playing at chess with a man for his soul.
The pieces on the board seem to represent the virtues and the deadly sins.
The man is evidently losing the game, while in the background stands an
angel sad and helpless, and statue-like. We need not stay to criticize the
false theology implied in that picture, because our immediate concern is
with a meaning which has been read into that picture by a great scientific
teacher of our day. We have been told by Professor Huxley, that if we
“substitute for the mocking fiend in that picture a calm, strong angel who is
playing, as we say, for love, and would rather lose than win,” we shall have
a true picture of the relation of man to nature. “The chessboard is the
world; the pieces are the phenomena of the universe; the rules of the game
are what we call the laws of nature. The player on the other side is hidden
from us, We know that his play is always fair, and just, and patient. But
also we know, to our cost, that he never overlooks a mistake, or makes the
smallest allowance for ignorance.” Such is the modern reading of the
picture. And here there is a great truth, or at least one side of a great truth,
expressed. It puts before us in a very real and concrete form the fact that,
in our mere physical life, we are engaged in a great struggle. We must learn
to adapt ourselves truly to the physical conditions of our life, or we must
perish in a fruitless opposition to natural laws. But that physical life which
we live is not our whole life, nor are what we call the laws of external
nature the only laws which we need to know. We are surrounded by
spiritual forces in which our moral life is lived. In that more real life we
have relations with spiritual beings, some like ourselves and some above
us, and One whom we love to call our Father, which is in heaven. Are there
no laws in that spiritual world? No truths there, the knowledge of which
will make us free? If the violation of physical law is death, is there no death
in the moral and spiritual sphere? Is the life of the soul less real, its death
less terrible than that of the body? And if not, what do we know of the
great spiritual realities which environ life?
1. All truth gives freedom. To know nature is to gain freedom in regard to
her; to know her fully is to conform ourselves to her. And to know God is
to cease to be afraid of Him, to know Him fully is to love Him perfectly,
and to conform ourselves to His likeness.
2. Why, then, is there such fear and jealousy of dogma amongst men who
gladly welcome every new truth about their physical life? If all truth is from
God, and every truth sets us free, why is it that men hesitate to allow these
characteristics to that which, above all, claims to be from God, and to give
us perfect freedom? It is here that we touch the characteristic difference
which exists between the laws of the spiritual and the laws of the material
world. The laws of nature are discoveries; the laws of the spiritual world
are revelations. The former are found out; the latter are given. The former
are confessedly imperfect, added to
continually as years go by; the latter
are complete, the same yesterday, to day, and forever. The former lay claim
to no finality; they may be challenged, put upon their trial, called upon to
justify themselves. The latter, if they are from God, claim our reverence,
our obedience, our willing submission. (Aubrey L. Moore, M. A.)
Freedom only to be found in God: — Last summer the good ship Wieland
brought over a large number of caged birds. When we were about midocean
one restless bird escaped from his cage. In ecstasy he swept through
the air, away and away from his prison. How he bounded with outspread
wings! Freedom! How sweet he thought it! Across the pathless waste ha
entirely disappeared. But after hours had passed, to our amazement, he
appeared again, struggling towards the ship with heavy wing. Panting and
breathless, he settled upon the deck. Far, far over the boundless deep, how
eagerly, how painfully had he sought the ship again, now no longer
prison, but his dear home. As I watched him nestle down on the deck, I
thought of the restless human heart that breaks away from the restraints of
religion. With buoyant wing he bounds away from Church the prison, and
God the prison. But if he is not lost on the remorseless deep, he comes
back again with panting, eager heart, to Church the home, and God the
home. The Church is not a prison to any man. It gives the most perfect
freedom in all that is good and all that is safe. It gives him liberty to do
what is right, and to do what is wrong, there is no rightful place to any man
in all the boundless universe. (R. S. Barrett.)