Years ago, my father purchased books of sermons by the Scottish preacher, James S. Stewart (not to be confused with the American actor). He told me that I should learn to “preach Dr. Stewart’s sermons because he will teach you how to preach.” It was sage advice. I studied the sermons, worked at them, and Dad was right, the sermons helped shape my preaching. In fact, there is a portion of one of these great sermon’s that I put to memory:
Text: “Jesus said, Father, glorify Thy name. Then came there a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again” (John 12:28).
These words are a dramatic assertion of one basic fact of our faith: the fact, namely, that it is God’s way to go beyond the best He has done before; that therefore a living faith will always have in it a certain element of surprise and tension and discovery; that wheat we have seen and learned of God up to the present is not to be the end of our seeing or the sum total of our learning; that whatever we have found in Christ is only a fraction of what we still can find; that the spiritual force which in the great days of the past vitalized the Church and shaped the course of history has not exhausted its energies and fallen into abeyance but is liable at any moment to burst out anew and take control; and that specially today, God is promising to do wonders for you that He has never done before, so that there will be more jubilant doxologies, more exultant hallelujahs.
“I have both glorified My name, and will glorify it again.”For there is no limit to the creative love of god, and no end to the redeeming grace of Christ.
Lord, these sermons shaped more than my preaching; their words and images helped shape my soul. I want to thank you for the men and women who share your Word, and, thus, shape our lives in Christ. Amen.
Copyright Richard Leslie Parrott. Ph.D.