No Other Name

The name of Jesus is not only light but also food; it is also oil, without which all food of the soul is dry; it is salt, without whose seasoning whatever is set before us is insipid; finally, it is honey in the mouth, melody in the ear, rejoicing in the heart, and at the same time medicine.  Every discourse in which his name is not spoken is without savor.

– St. Bernard, Sermons on the Song of Songs, quoted in John Calvin’s Institutes, Book II, Chapter XVI, addressing “The Redeemer.”  Cf. Acts 4.12; Mt 1.21.

O Give Me That Book!

I am a spirit come from God, and returning to God: just hovering over a great gulf; till, a few moments hence, I am no more seen; I drop into an unchangeable eternity!  I want to know one thing – the way to heaven: . . . God himself has condescended to teach the way: for this very end he came from heaven.  He hath written it down in a book.  O give me that book!  At any price, give me the book of God!  I have it: here is knowledge enough for me.  Let me be homo unius libri (a man of one Book).  Here then I am, far fro the busy ways of men.  I sit down alone: only God is here.  In his presence I open, I read his book; for this end, to find the way to heaven.

– from John Wesley’s Standard Sermons, quoted in John Stott’s Between Two Worlds, 32.

The Pulpit as Joy and Throne

“The Country Parson [preacher], preacheth constantly, the pulpit is his joy and his throne. . . . he draws his message from the book of books, the storehouse and magazine of life and comfort, the holy Scriptures, for there he sucks, and lives.  His main characteristic is not that he is witty, or learned, or eloquent, but holy, and so earnest is he in his desire to communicate, that he even interrupts his own sermon with many Apostrophes to God as ‘Oh, Lord, bless my people, and teach them this point.'”

– George Herbert, A Priest to the Temple, quoted by John Stott in Between Two Worlds, 30.

Chrysostomos

Chrysostomos was the nickname given to John Chrysostom, preacher for twelve years at the Cathedral in Antioch and named bishop of Constantinople in 398 A.D.  “Chrysostomos” meant “golden-mouthed,” an affectionate play upon his name.  In Between Two Worlds, John Stott quotes Philip Schaff as saying that he “remains to this day a model for preachers in large citites” (21).  Stott identifies four aspects of his preaching that I wanted to set before you very simply —

First, he was biblical.

Second, his interpretation of the Scriptures was simple and straightforward.

Third, his moral applications were down to earth.

Fourth, he was fearless in his condemnations.

While I am sure that we might add to or nuance this list, preachers would be wise to consider these ingredients in a culture that largely disdains the very idea of preaching and a preaching culture that largely obliges this disdain.  May God grant more men that we might nickname “Chrysostomos.”

Stirring Sermon on Joshua 8:18-29

The sermon is preached by Dr. Hershael York of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.  This is one of the hard passages in the Bible and Dr. York handles it exceptionally well.  From beginning to end, but especially at the end, the sermon rises in affection and power.  A wonderful presentation of God, the hard things in the Bible, and the gospel of Jesus Christ.  I encourage your listening, consideration and your “doing.”  Go here.