Preparing a Truthful, Calvinistic Sermon (by a Calvinist)

Discussion in 'Calvinism/Arminianism Debate' started by Reformed, Jan 26, 2015.

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  1. Reformed

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    What does a Calvinistic sermon look like from an actual Calvinist? Compare this abbreviated portion of a real sermon to the fictitious Calvinist sermon by another board member:

    1 Corinthians 2:1-2 And when I came to you, brethren, I did not come with superiority of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of God. 2 For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. ​

    The cross is what holds the bible together. Genesis pointed to the cross. The conquering and reigning Messiah of Revelation is the fulfillment of the promises of the seed of the woman in Genesis 3. The wounds of the cross will be visible on our Lord for eternity. There is no Christianity; no forgiveness of sin without the cross. When we talk of the cross we talk of Christ and when we talk of Christ we talk of the cross.

    The new year has led me to contemplate the impact of Christ on the scriptures - or better yet - Christ as revealed in the scriptures. I would like to think that I am a skilled enough preacher to have come up with original material on this topic that has not been preached in the New Covenant age of the Church. Alas, that is not the case. While I labor to study and understand the Word, I must let go of my pride and realize that God has blessed others with understanding of the scriptures. One of those men was the “prince of preachers” - Charles Haddon Spurgeon. Because it is germane to this morning’s message, I want to read an excerpt from a sermon preached by Charles Spurgeon on the Lord’s Day, March 13th, 1859. The title of the sermon is “Christ Precious to Believers”:

     
    #1 Reformed, Jan 26, 2015
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  2. Reformed

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    The Bible is a river. It flows from Genesis into the great sea of Revelation. The headwaters of this river is none other than Jesus Christ Himself. We are nourished on the living waters that this river contains. King David wrote that those who delight in the Law of the Lord “will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, Which yields its fruit in its season And its leaf does not wither; And in whatever he does, he prospers” (Ps. 1:3).

    This morning’s message is not going to be a neat package of 3 points with corresponding illustrations. Instead I want to draw our attention to the very fiber of our faith as revealed in scripture - the Lord Jesus Christ. You and I did not finish our business with Christ at a single point in time. It was not at the moment of our salvation that we took on Christ and then outgrew Him. Christ is revealed to us in the gospel and the depths of the gospel cannot be exhausted. The gospel is the means God uses to reveal our sin. The Holy Spirit then leads us to repentance. Saving faith follows, but the work of the gospel is not done there. The gospel has a continuing ministry in our lives. The Holy Spirit uses it to teach us, convict us of ongoing sin, encourage us, motivate us to share its life-giving message with others, and give us anticipation of glory. It is our constant companion, although we often overlook its importance in our lives.

    Imagine you are studying to be a dentist. Once your graduate dental school your “office” is going to be the human mouth. As an aspiring dentist you would not want to waste your time with peripheral issues that have no connection to dentistry. For instance the fact that most dentists in your town wear the same brand of sneakers would not be a valuable piece of information. But what if a new medical study was just published on the ability to detect emerging cancer cells in soft tissue. Even though the study was not intended specifically for dentistry, you know that the human mouth is full of soft tissue. In your reality - in your world - you interpret everything medical through the lens of dentistry, even if it doesn’t seem to apply to dentistry directly. The same is true of the Christian and the Word of God. Going back to the excerpt from one of Spurgeon’s sermons; all scripture finds it meaning in the cross - in Christ.

    How Do We Know All Scripture is Rooted in the Christ?

    Jesus Christ created all there is as testified by both the Old and New Testaments.

    Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

    Hebrews 1:1-3 God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, 2 in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. 3 And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power.
     
  3. Reformed

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    The Old Testament points to the redemptive work of Christ:

    Isaiah 53:5-7 5 But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed. 6 All of us like sheep have gone astray, Each of us has turned to his own way; But the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all To fall on Him. 7 He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He did not open His mouth; Like a lamb that is led to slaughter, And like a sheep that is silent before its shearers, So He did not open His mouth.

    The New Testament reveals the redemptive work of Christ

    Ephesians 1:13-14 13 In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation-- having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14 who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God's own possession, to the praise of His glory.


    The New Testament reveals what the Old Testament looked forward to from creation:

    John 1:1-5 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. 4 In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. 5 The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.

    1 John 1:1-2 What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the Word of Life-- 2 and the life was manifested, and we have seen and testify and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was manifested to us--
     
  4. Reformed

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    What Is The Significance of Knowing All Scripture is Rooted in Christ?

    Since Jesus Christ is “the Word” incarnate (as John reveals); since Jesus Christ created all there is; since Jesus Christ purchased the redemption of his elect through His death on the cross; and since the depth and breadth of scripture focuses on this redemption; then the Bible is nothing less than a book about Christ. And if the Bible is a book about Christ, then Christ should be proclaimed from the pulpit each time the text is opened. But more than that. When we open the scriptures for personal study or family devotions we should see Christ. When we read of Adam and Eve in the Garden we should see Christ as the promised seed of the woman. When read of Noah and the Ark we should see Christ saving a special people for Himself. When we read about the Old Testament ceremonial law we should see it pointing forwards to the incarnate Christ. Christ, Christ, Christ! He permeates all of scripture.

    Is it any wonder that Paul said to the Corinthians: “For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ”? As a trained Pharisee Paul could have regaled the Corinthians with his knowledge of Jewish customs or finer points about the Mosaic Law. But Paul wanted to know nothing among them except Jesus Christ. When he is working in your mouth the good dentist we spoke of earlier is not concerned with his retirement savings or what he is going to have for dinner. He is concerned with the job at hand and he is using all his knowledge of dentistry to do that job. When we come to scripture we need to see Christ. Nothing more. Nothing less.

    So, what happens when we see Christ in all of scripture?

    1. We understand the Bible in the way it was intended.

    Romans 1:16-17 16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, "BUT THE RIGHTEOUS man SHALL LIVE BY FAITH."

    2. We understand that God’s redemptive plan has always included Christ.

    Ephesians 1:3-5 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, 4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love 5 He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will,

    3. We understand that the Word of God is as secure and unchanging as is Jesus Christ Himself.

    Hebrews 13:8 8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
     
  5. Reformed

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    I will close with an illustration.

    In John Bunyan’s classic allegory “Pilgrim’s Progress” the story begins with the character ‘Christian’ in a state of great distress caused by reading a book that announced coming judgment and destruction. Christian runs into a character called ‘Evangelist’. Evangelist tells Christian to flee from the City of Destruction and points to a far away wicket gate. But Christian cannot see the gate. Evangelist asks Christian, “Do you see yonder shining light?” Christian responds, “I think I do”. This light was only the slimmest flicker of hope. Christian could barely see it. But it was enough. Christian followed the light and it eventually lead him to Christ because, in Bunyan’s book, the light was Christ.

    When we read scripture sometimes the light of Christ may seem faint. It could be because the text does not directly reference Christ, or it may be because our own sin and lack of understanding may obscure Christ. But rest assured Christ is there. Jesus Christ Himself is the Word.

    Revelation 22:16-21 16 "I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star." 17 The Spirit and the bride say, "Come." And let the one who hears say, "Come." And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost. 18 I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues which are written in this book; 19 and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his part from the tree of life and from the holy city, which are written in this book. 20 He who testifies to these things says, "Yes, I am coming quickly." Amen. Come, Lord Jesus. 21 The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen.
     
  6. OldRegular

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    Excellent OP, Reformed!

    I have long believed that a man called to preach could start with John 3:16 and preach through the entire Bible.

    I attempted to start a thread based on the Scripture: This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. 1Timothy 1:15 Sadly it deteriorated into a meaningless wrangling between SBM and Ryan. I asked the moderator to close the thread. Hopefully this thread will lead to some meaningful discussion.
     
  7. convicted1

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    Wonderful sermon, Brother Herold!

    :thumbsup::applause::thumbs::applause:
     
  8. Reformed

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    I am not optimistic about that. I just want to display to the anti-Calvinists that a Calvinist sermon is not the caricature they like to present.
     
  9. Reformed

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    btw my given name is not Herold. <smile>
     
  10. OldRegular

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    I pointed that out several times to steaver. I am sure he knew his OP"s were nonsense but!
     
  11. Iconoclast

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    But they do much better when they can attack a strawman who can not answer back:thumbsup::laugh::thumbsup:
     
  12. Reformed

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    Quite true. But do not fret. I do not think you will see many of them comment in this thread. That is all well and good. The point has been made.
     
  13. annsni

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    Thank you for that message!! It was a blessing to me tonight!
     
  14. Reformed

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    You're most welcome, sister.
     
  15. Inspector Javert

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    That's not a "Calvinist" sermon:

    It's a general all purpose Evangelical sermon which could have come from the mouth and pen of any Evangelical.

    A Calvinist could preach it
    An Arminian could preach it
    A snake-handling Pentecostal could preach it. (albeit they aren't likely to)

    It isn't distinctively "Calvinistic" in any way. It's an EVANGELICAL message.....PREACHED BY a Calvinist. (who are a sub-set of Evangelicals).

    It's not a counter-point to Steaver's sermon.

    Far from refuting his point, it demonstrates it.

    His point is that, in general, Calvinists DON'T preach distinctively "Calvinist" sermons.
    Indeed, they preach Evangelical sermons.
    Being Evangelicals, Calvinists are, of course, more than welcome to do so.

    His O.P. on the other hand, is what an actual "Calvinistic" sermon (as distinct from what any other Evangelical could preach) would sound like.
     
    #15 Inspector Javert, Jan 27, 2015
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  16. steaver

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    EXCELLENT Observation!!!! :thumbsup:

    I really don't see Calvinism in this sermon at all. It appears to be 100% Arminian, and I might add, spot on!! :thumbsup:

    I specifically like the closing allegory,

    Did you read anything in there which said God regenerated Christian so to make him follow the light??? No, Christian CHOSE to follow the light. The sermon is totally Arminian, and rightfully so, because the scriptures speak just as the Arminian speaks. Only Calvinism makes distinctions based on the man-made theology called TULIP.

    Again, Great sermon!!! :thumbsup:
     
  17. Revmitchell

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    It also should have said :

    Some of you are going to die and spend eternity in hell. God does not want you. He will get glory by refusing to offer you grace. Some of you will burn in hell and there is nothing you can do. There is no opportunity for you. God hates you, Christ did not die for you, and you are an inferior person so go ahead while you can, eat, drink, and be merry for there is nothing but misery for you after this life.
     
  18. steaver

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    No No No!!! That would be a "truthful" Calvinistic sermon......the WHOLE Truth and not these half truths, hide the actually conclusions of Calvinism sermons.
     
  19. steaver

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    This is EXACTLY what the Calvinist believes. So why doesn't the Calvinist preach it in Evangelism???
     
  20. Revmitchell

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    Quite dishonest isn't it.
     
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