The Church is God’s witness to each generation, and her ministers are her voice. Through them she becomes vocal. By them she has spoken always to the world, and by them God has spoken to the church herself. … By gift and calling the minister is a man apart.
It is not enough, however, that the man of God preach the truth. He has no right to take up a man’s time telling him what is true merely. It is a doubtful compliment to any preacher to nod the head and say, “That is true.” The same might properly be said if he were doing no more than reciting the multiplication table. It also is true.
A church can wither as surely under the ministry of soulless Bible exposition as it can where no Bible at all is given. To be effective the preacher’s message must be alive; it must alarm, arouse, challenge; it must be God’s present voice to a particular people.
—A. W. Tozer
Of God and Men (Camp Hill, PA: WingSpread, 1995), 23–24.
Surely if men’s hearts were right, short sermons would be enough.
—Charles H. Spurgeon,
Sermon 0975, “The Parable of the Wedding Feast,” The Metropolitan Tabernacle (Banner of Truth Trust, 1876), Matthew 22:2–4.
Wherever we find the word of God purely preached and heard, and the sacraments administered according to the institution of Christ; there, it is not to be doubted, is a Church of God.
— John Calvin
The book, the Word, is like the flour, but the sermon is the bread, for it is through the sermon that the Word is, as it were, prepared for human palates, and brought so that human souls may be able to receive it. The moment the Church of God shall despise the pulpit, God will despise her. It has been through the ministry that the Lord has always been pleased to revive and bless his Churches.
— Charles H. Spurgeon
The Metropolitan Tabernacle, “Bread For The Hungry,” Sermon 0418, preached Nov 10, 1861 on Dt 8:3.
“When the thread of the gospel is too fine spun, it will not clothe a naked soul.”
Nice distinctions and technical phrases may hide the fulness of the word of God, and the simple truth may be treated in such a philosophical manner that its strength and substance may be taken away.
Some men preach the gospel, but there is very little of it. It is the right wool, but it is spun too fine. They give milk, it is true, but the water of their own notions so dilutes it that a man might sooner be drowned in it than nourished by it.
O to preach a full gospel fully!—to give it out with the richness and freeness which poor sinners need. This is one of the great demands of the day. Men are very liberal in their views, but they are not liberal in dealing out the precious things of the gospel of Christ.
Cold is this world and bitter are the blasts of conscience, and while they are shivering in their sins, poor awakened souls need all the gospel of grace, and all the grace of the gospel. O that our brethren would give up their fine spinning and wire-drawing of the doctrines of grace, and give us something substantial from the storehouse of the everlasting covenant, and plenty of it.
Alas, too many despise the old-fashioned word, and in their heart of hearts hate the very doctrine which they pretend to uphold. We know some who have no more right in the Christian ministry than Mahometans, and yet they say they are followers of Jesus. We have not so learned Christ.
—Charles H. Spurgeon
Flowers from a Puritan’s Garden (Passmore & Alabaster, 1883).