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.
Keeping the Heart, which expounded on the principles of Proverbs.
Divine Conduct; or The Mystery of Providence
Ferguson on John Flavel >>>
Christian Audio’s free audio book for the month of November 2018 is Foxe’s Book of Martyrs.
From the website:
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.
Foxe’s Book of Martyrs >>>
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.
Visit the site here:
Equipped to Preach the Word >>>
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.
Religious Affections at Christian Audio >>>
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.
Reading the Bible Supernaturally >>>
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.
For a limited time only:
2018 Banner Conference >>>
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.”
2 Timothy 2:24-25
Principles of Debate >>>
I recently came across 2 sites that have links to a great many sermons by our Scottish friend Sinclair Ferguson.
Feeding on Christ has a list of Ferguson’s Scottish sermons here >>>
Monergism has a large list of sermons here >>>
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.
You can download apps for iOS and Android.
Many years ago John MacArthur was asked what preachers he listens to for his own joy and edification, and one of the men on his short list was S. Lewis Johnson. I had never heard of Johnson and immediately went looking for him. Johnson was involved in ministry for 45 years, a professor at a number of seminaries such as DTS and TEDS, and finished his days of ministry as the pastor at Believer’s Chapel in Dallas.
Johnson is a first-class Bible expositor and I have been blessed by listening to this faithful man preach the Word of God with clarity and power.
Since his death in 2004 the SLJ Institute has collected more than 1500 of Johnson’s sermons and is in the process of transcribing them.
SLJ Institute >>>