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Tuesday, October 11, 2005 

Logic on Fire....

This week I was reminded again of the importance of preaching Gods Word well and I thank God for those who are preaching His Word without compromise and who are standing for the truth! Praise be to God for raising up men who preach faithfully! Martyn Lloyd-Jones said "'To me, the work of preaching is the highest and most glorious calling to which anyone can be called." and described preaching as 'Logic on Fire'. I trust these thoughts will exhort us to pray more for our dear brothers and that they will be blessed and encouraged by these truths....

"I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing." 2 Timothy 4:1-8 ESV


Hungry, and faint, and poor,
Behold us, Lord, again
Assembled at thy mercies door,
Thy bounty to abtain.

Thy word invites us nigh
Or we must starve indeed;
For we no money have to buy,
No righteousness to plead.

The food our Spirits want
Thy hand alone can give;
Oh, hear the pray'r of faith, and grant
That we may eat, and live.
Newton, Olney Hymns pg416

"In this battle one minister of the Word dares to contend with ten thousand. . . . What single individual dare to take up arms against such great wisdom and power, and not simply against the wisdom and power of the world, but of Satan, too, and the gates of hell? That is why it is a difficult battle, not simply because of our obvious weakness and our small numbers, but because of the power, wisdom, and multitude of our adversaries. . . . Therefore it is not surprising that weak men would rather give up the office of teaching than arouse against them so many smart people, so many holy and powerful men - in fact, the whole world together with the gates of hell; to this should be added the ingratitude of the people, contempt and weariness with the Word. In short, everywhere there is nothing but misfortune: outside they persecute the Word; among us they despise and neglect it; pastors almost die of hunger and receive no other reward for their godly labors than ingratitude and hatred. Where is the prosperity here? Certainly only in the spirit.

Therefore rouse yourself. Do not give in to evils, but go forth boldly against them. Hold on. Do not be disheartened either by contempt or ingratitude within or by agitation and raging without. . . . It is in sorrow, when we are the closest to despair, that hope rises the highest. So today, when there is the greatest contempt and weariness with the Word, the true glory of the Word begins. Therefore we should learn to understand this verse as speaking of invisible progress and success. Our King enjoys success and good fortune even though you do not see it. Moreover, it would not be expedient for us to see this success, for then we would be puffed up. Now, however, he raises us up through faith and gives us hope. Even though we see no fruit of the Word, still we can be certain that fruit will not be wanting but will certainly follow; for so it is written here. Only we should not be discouraged when we look at present circumstances that disturb us, but we should much rather look at these promises. For according to the example of Christ, their Lord, Christians must be weak and despised people, who by their good deeds merit nothing but the greatest derision and the utmost ingratitude. So those who are in the teaching office should teach with the greatest faithfulness and expect no other remuneration than to be killed by the world, trampled under foot, and despised by their own. . . . Let the world be ungrateful as it wills, let it abuse the Word as it wills, we must still not give up the office of teaching. We should hold out and persevere, commending to God the success and good fortune of the Word. He is the kind of king who will have success, steadfastness, and victory - if not in this place and time, then at another time and place. This splendor and success is clearer than all the stars, even though we do not see it. . . .

Teach purely and faithfully, and in all you do expect not glory but dishonor and contempt, not wealth but poverty, violence, prison, death, and every danger. Your King foretells these things. In this life you should expect nothing else; only in the life to come will He give you a fitting reward for your labor. . . . . . After the faith has struggled valiantly in battle, victory will also come and be apparent, so that even in this life we shall gain peace and many other good things."

Luther's Works, Volume 12, edited by J. Pelikan (Concordia, 1955), p. 219-222. From lectures on Psalm 45:4 delivered in 1532

"Preach the word" means "exult in the word." That is, announce it and revel in it. Speak it as amazing news. Speak it from a heart that is moved by it.
There are two reasons why this kind of speaking in the church is so crucial. One is that the subject matter is infinitely important. There is no other organization on earth that deals in matters of eternal life and eternal death -- matters about God and his Son and his Spirit, matters about salvation and judgment. . . . This means that there is a form of speech that . . . fits the greatness of that truth -- namely, preaching. So the first reason for preaching is that the nature of the Truth calls for something more than mere explanation or discussion or conversation.

The other reason why preaching is so crucial is that our hearts yearn for the Truth to come to us in ways that highlight the worth of the truth. In other words, not only does the magnificence of the truth call for a heartfelt heralding and passionate exultation, but our hearts call for this too. Our hearts will not be drawn out to worship if someone just dissects and analyzes the worth and glory of God but does not exult in it before us. Our hearts long for true preaching. . . .
God exists to be worshipped -- to be admired and treasured and desired and praised. Therefore, the Word of God is written primarily to produce worship. This means that if that Word is handled like a hot-dish recipe or a repair manual, it is mishandled. . . . The Truth of God begs to be handled with exultation. And our hearts yearn for this and need it. Something in us starts to die when precious and infinitely valuable realities are handled without feelings and words of wonder and exultation. That is, a church starts to die without preaching.

But, of course, this assumes something massive. To treasure the Truth, and to love the Truth, and be impassioned about the truth, and to exult in the Truth, you have to know the Truth. So it’s not enough to say that preaching is exultation. We must also say it is "expository exultation." It is exultation in the Truth of God’s Word. . . . You can never twist or exploit the Word in order to increase the emotional response of the people. Preaching is not exultation without exposition of the Word. Nor is preaching exposition of the Word without exultation. One error cuts off the head. The other rips out the heart. In both cases the victim dies. No heart. Or, no head. You’re dead. And so is preaching. And not too long after, the church.

So the command of the Lord is, Preach the Word. Keep your head on (exposition) and keep your heart alive (exultation). Handle the precious living Word of God accurately. And come to this pulpit week after week and do expository exultation. Don’t out-exult the Word. And don’t under-exult the Word. There is enough glory in the Word that you need add nothing artificial. Just eat it until your heart is deeply and truly satisfied and then serve the same banquet for your people. . . .
Scripture turned into glad tidings -- that is what happens in expository exultation. Pastor, if the Lord wills, there are many years in front of you and many trials. You will be tempted in many ways to give up preaching. Satan will lie to you that it is not a great thing. Or that you could devote yourself to something more significant. But when that happens go back to 2 Timothy 4:1-2 and listen to the apostle. "I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: preach the word."

Then you will rise up and say with Martin Luther, "If I could today become king or emperor, I would not give up my office as preacher."
John Piper, "Advice to Pastors: Preach the Word,"

Lastly, a song and prayer which should be on all our hearts and lips for our brothers.....

Hymn XC

Now, Lord inspire the preacher's heart,
And teach his tongue to speak;
Food to the hungry soul impart,
And cordials to the weak.

Furnish us all with light and pow'rs
To walk in Wisdom's ways;
So shall the benifit be ours,
And thou shalt have the praise.
Newton, Olney Hymns pg 415

"The food our spirits want
Thy hand alone can give..."

Isn't this the truth! Why do we look for food in all the wrong places - the broken cisterns!

Thanks for this, boys!


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