Yesterday, I preached our 79th and final sermon on the Old Testament book of ISAIAH, using the final 2 paragraphs as our text. ISAIAH is such a glorious book — this was a moving experience for me.
During the week I finished reading several of the commentaries I had been using for these past two years. Perhaps the finest of them all is Alex Motyer’s IVP commentary on ISAIAH. His closing words are indicative of the detail and passion of his work:
Isaiah by James Tissot (1836–1902)
“There is a grandeur about ISAIAH not found elsewhere even in the most majestic of the rest of Scripture, a majesty full of glory and of solemnity, plain alike in the revelation vouchsafed to him and the language in which he was inspired to express it. But with the grandeur went a stern resoluteness, that if the glory does not win us to the life of obedience, if visions of the coming King, the sin-bearing Servant and the liberating Anointed Conqueror will not suffice, then maybe the unmistakably horrible rewards of disobedience [see 66:24] will drive our wayward hearts to tremble at the word of the Lord.”
Thank God for His Word.
Let us all be reminded of the good counsel that the Westminster Larger Catechism provides about hearing sermons:
Question 160: What is required of those that hear the word preached?
Answer: It is required of those that hear the word preached, that they attend upon it with diligence, preparation, and prayer; examine what they hear by the scriptures; receive the truth with faith, love, meekness, and readiness of mind, as the word of God; meditate, and confer of it; hide it in their hearts, and bring forth the fruit of it in their lives.
Today (my day off, when I do most of my blog-reading and blog writing for the week) I cam across two little gems on doing pastoral ministry — and one for you, the pastor’s audience. I found all three at a site called CHURCH MATTERS, run by the 9Marks ministry of Mark Dever.
Gem #1 for Pastors
The keys to an effective pastorate (normally):
Preach and Pray, Love and Stay.
(by Michael Mckinley)
Gem #2 for Pastors (young and older, I hope):
Young men tend to overestimate how much they can accomplish in the short term, but underestimate how much they can accomplish in the long term.
(from an older saint, reported by Michael Mckinley)
Gem #3 for you….
Few things are more discouraging or dishonoring to such men than a congregation inattentive to the Word of God. Faithful men flourish at the fertile reception of the preached Word. They’re made all the more bold when their people give ear to the Lord’s voice and give evidence of being shaped by it. As church members, we can care for our pastors and teacher and help to prevent unnecessary discouragement and fatigue by cultivating the habit of expositional listening.
(from Thabiti Anyabwile’s book What Is a Healthy Church Member?)
Let’s all keep the main things in the right place.