Alright. The Spurgeon reading updates will probably be few for a bit. My wonderful wife and I are going to St. Joseph, MO for a conference this weekend, and sort of cramming a day of vacation-ness in there as well.
This post covers chapters 6 and 7, titled “On the Choice of a Text” and “On Spiritualizing.”
Chapter 6- Who am I to argue with Spurgeon, but working through consecutive texts would really eliminate much of the difficulties he discusses regarding finding a text. That said, pastors should still carefully and prayerfully think of what messages they are bringing to a text. I’ve been working as a youth pastor, and I’ve developed the habit (can 2 years be considered a habit?) of laying out a semester’s worth of messages for our Wednesday night lessons ahead of time. This saves me so much time (no Wednesday afternoon panic sessions-What to talk about tonight!!!), and I think it provides some perspective/diversity/cohesiveness. I can balance out my lessons to cover different areas rather than hitting my pet topics, and I can lay out a series in a way that makes sense. And should God lead me to scrap a lesson and go a different direction, nothing stops me from doing that! I usually leave a week or two of “cushion” somewhere near the end so if a week in the middle gets changed, the entire schedule isn’t doomed. And if they are not used, those are great weeks to fill in as the semester goes on and new needs/ideas arise. But enough about me…
“Although all Scripture is good and profitable, yet it is not all equally appropriate for every occasion.” -Driscoll’s illustration of the “expository-only” preacher who refused to interrupt his exposition of Genesis to talk about Easter comes to mind. Apparently the man preached on the sin of Onan that week.
“There are persons in the ministry who, having accumulated a little stock of sermons, repeat them ad nauseum, with horrible regularity.” -These pastors usually change churches every 3 years when their sermons run out. Or the church suddenly has a run of children’s church volunteers who figured out the jig. There is very little reason for ever preaching the same sermon to the same people. Spurgeon calls these men “sluggards.”
-Recalling his grandfather’s words, who had been in ministry 50 years, and still labored over what to preach each week–“The difficulty is not because there are not enough texts, but because there are so many, that I am in a strait betwixt them.”
On young preachers not taking too many liberties in the pulpit- “A patriarch may do with propriety what a young man must scrupulously avoid.”
On NOT using the pulpit to go after specific people-“The word of God is sharper than any two-edged sword, and therefore you can leave the word of God to wound and kill, and need not be yourselves cutting in phrase and manner.”
On observation as key to finding illustrations-“The world is full of sermon– catch them on the wing.”
*Chapter 7- On Spiritualizing
-This section is useful mostly for the funny examples of bad allegorizing which Spurgeon gives. Spurgeon almost cuts off his own legs trying to fence in the allegorizing of Scripture with many, many rules. In fact, the rules alone probably would convince the average person not to even try, but to seek after the intended meaning of the passage. Well, here’s the one quote I am putting in from this chapter for you, one that might have kept certain preachers out of controversy…
In a section warning on spending too much time on “indelicate subjects”– “Solomon’s Song had better be let alone than dragged in the mire as it often is.”