Sinclair Ferguson examines the life and preaching ministry of John Flavel. Flavel was a non-conformist preacher in the 17th century who was exiled from Dartmouth during the Great Ejection. He, along with many others, was not allowed to preach within five miles of any major population center. Consequently, he was devoted to ministering to a single flock in an out-of-the-way place in the south of England.
Flavel epitomized the Puritan style of preaching, which was characterized by three dimensions.
The ministry of the gospel is a ministry of the Word of God
The ministry of the Word of God is a ministry to this particular world.
The ministry of the Word of God to this particular world by this particular worker.
This last dimension is something that is not well understood in our contemporary day, as sermons are reduced to mere facts and figures independent of personality. This didn’t sidestep the importance of carefully preaching the text. The Puritan sermon was a carefully wrought piece of work that began with a clear introduction to the text, an analysis of the key points of the text, an exposition of the truths enshrined in the text, and a clear explanation of how the particular truths arise from the text, and sensitivity in the handling of any difficulties. All of this would be done using plain speech and manifest love for the congregation.
Flavel was a remarkable illustration of this.
In fact, Flavel’s preaching and writing was very popular. A number of his books have remained in print and are available today.
Beginning with the story of Stephen from the book of Acts, considered the first Christian martyr, the drama builds to the passion of the early Church’s persecution under the Roman Empire. As the story continues, it places a significant emphasis on the sufferings of the early Protestants during the Reformation and continues with the stories of the French Protestants during and after the French Revolution.
The folks at Proclamation Trust have knocked it out of the park in technicolor. David Jackman, whom I admire for his engaging preaching, has created an extensive video and book study on preaching. And it’s all free.
Here’s their intro video.
From their website:
The purpose of this series of videos and accompanying manuals is to put resources into the hands of those who long, under God, to train up a new generation of faithful and effective Bible preachers.
Topics include: the nature and necessity of revelation, interpretation and application; apostolic priorities and practice; contemporary challenges in the culture and the church; careful reading and thoughtful analysis of Scripture; watching your life and doctrine; the Word of Christ dwelling in us richly.
This course helps you to train others to acquire and develop the necessary practical tools and skills to expound the Bible’s message. This includes both the preparation of the text and the presentation of the preaching, so as to connect that message to our contemporary cultures. The course seeks also to motivate the preacher to progress and perseverance, through spiritual encouragement, not only to be a skilled workman, but also to be maturing as a humble servant, whom God can use.
The combination of video teaching and downloadable materials for further discussion and practice exercises make this a flexible resource for training groups.
There is a worldwide need for the Word of God to be proclaimed and for Christians to be more deeply rooted in its truth. That is the heartbeat of Equipped to Preach the Word.
This is an amazing source from a place I consider a gold standard of preaching and equipping preachers to preach. Thank you David Jackman and your team at Proclamation Trust.
Jonathan Edwards’ classic book Religious Affections is the free audio book for the month of August at Christian Audio.
From the website:
The Religious Affections is quite possibly one of the most important books ever written by America’s greatest theologian. Among the questions asked is, “What is the nature of true religion?”, “What are the signs of a true revival?”, and “How is the heart changed?”. Edwards used his pulpit and his leadership of the Great Awakening to pen one of the most challenging and inquisitive books ever written.
John Piper’s book Reading the Bible Supernaturally is the free audio book download of the month of July at ChristianAudio.
From the ChristianAudio website:
The Bible reveals glorious things. And yet we often miss its power because we read it the same way we read any other book. In Reading the Bible Supernaturally, best-selling author John Piper teaches us how to read the Bible in light of its divine author. In doing so, he highlights the Bible’s unique ability to reveal God to humanity in a way that informs our minds, transforms our hearts, and ignites our love. Ultimately, Piper shows us that in the seemingly ordinary act of reading the Bible, something supernatural happens: we encounter the living God.
For a limited time, the 2018 Banner Conference is available to watch online for free. The conference this is “Ministers of Christ.” Among the speakers are Alistair Begg, Mark Johnson, David Strain, and Al Mohler.
From the website:
The Christian ministry is a many-sided calling. We are to be preachers and teachers, serving publicly and from house-to-house. We are to do the work of an evangelist. We are to be defenders of the faith and guardians of the gospel. We carry responsibility for the oversight of the church. We are to shepherd God’s flock, visit the sick, remember those in prison and be role models to all. Though many ministers are still young, they are called to be ‘elders’ , men displaying wisdom beyond their years. And this is just a fraction of what this holy vocation entails!
There is, however, one aspect of this calling that transcends and also connects all its other aspects. It is the fact that we are first and foremost ministers of Christ. He has called, equipped and commissioned us to serve him. It is to him we must ultimately answer; but it is also from him that we receive the gifts and enabling necessary for the work he assigns. He puts his treasure in clay jars and it is his pleasure to display his power through human weakness.
Being ministers of Christ is the theme of our 2018 conference. It is intended to remind those who are ministers that they have the highest of callings; but to remind them too that the Master we serve makes us equal to the task.
Monergism has assembled a collection of links to a plethora of resources about how Christians should exercise civility and care in debates, arguments, and social media engagement. While there are no audio resources here (just a few videos), the information provided is greatly needed by the church in our connected age if we are to follow Paul’s admonition in his second letter to Timothy.
“And the Lord’s servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth.”
The theme of T4G/18 is about being distinct from the world. The usual suspects led the conference: Mohler, Dever, Duncan, Mahaney, DeYoung, Piper, MacArthur, Chandler, Anyabwile, and Platt.
From the website:
What began as a friendship between four pastors from across denominational traditions has burgeoned into a biennial conference for thousands of pastors and church leaders who, for all their differences, are committed to standing together for the main thing—the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Over a decade of consequential gatherings focused on expositional preaching (2006), biblical theology (2008), the gospel (2010), conversion (2012), evangelism (2014), and the Reformation (2016), T4G has sought to reaffirm and reiterate the central doctrine of the Christian faith and to encourage local churches around the world to do the same.
The ensuing years have brought with them many new faces, along with seismic cultural shifts and challenges for Christian ministry. And yet the conference has grown as more and more pastors discover that they share the same gospel-centered ambition.
Twelve years ago, at the inaugural T4G, we adopted a series of theological positions in the form of affirmations and denials. “We are convinced,” we wrote, “that the Gospel of Jesus Christ has been misrepresented, misunderstood, and marginalized in many Churches and among many who claim the name of Christ.”
As false gospels circulate and pastors are tempted to bow to cultural pressures, we remain convinced that the church is in a moment of spiritual crisis. Going on twelve years, buoyed by Christ’s promise that the gates of hell will not prevail against it, we remain convinced of the need for a full and gladdening recovery of the gospel in the church.
If you haven’t heard about Expositor.FM you need to. This is a 24 hour Internet Radio site broadcasting the sermons of great expository preachers including Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Donald Grey Barnhouse, James Montgomery Boice, John MacArthur, Steve Lawson, Dan Duncan and S. Lewis Johnson.
The great beauty of this site is not the celebration of these men, but the great need to hear the whole counsel of God faithfully preached by men of unshakable, biblical conviction.