Sunday, June 14, 2009

6/15- Preaching and Calvin

Devotional using scripture, quote from John Calvin and thoughts for the day each day- on the 500th anniversary of Calvin's birth.

6/15/09- Calvin and Preaching

Paul devoted himself exclusively to preaching, testifying to the Jews that Jesus was the messiah. (Acts 18:5)

Calvin: For first, the Lord teaches and instructs us by his Word. Secondly, he confirms it by the sacraments. Finally, he illumines our minds by the light of his Holy Spirit and opens our hearts for the Word and sacraments
to enter in, which would otherwise only strike our ears and appear before our eyes, but not at all affect us within (IV.14.8)

Calvin wrote the Duke of Somerset in England that the Anglican church needed more preaching and less reading. He said, “Preaching should not be lifeless but lively, to teach, to exhore to reprove…not making a parade of rhetoric, only to gain esteem for themselves.” (Letter to Somerset). Calvin preached over 3,000 sermons. The right administration of the sacraments and the right preaching of the Word were signs of the existence of the true church for Calvin. Preaching was sometimes called the Word of God, but they did not bind the Holy Spirit to it (in other words, sometimes it was the Word of God and sometimes not- unlike the way the Bible was described). Calvin said, “The minister is the very mouth of God” (Sermon on Deut. 25). Calvinistic preaching was not fanciful and full of rhetoric, but plain, simple and powerful. While the Roman Catholics emphasized the Mass, and the Anglicans emphasized liturgy, Pentecostals emphasize an experience of the Holy Spirit, some churches emphasize program and activity, but Calvinists emphasized preaching. The climax of the Reformed service is the preaching. Calvin believed preaching can change the world and the human heart when the Holy Spirit got hold of it. In our day, we need to emphasize preaching a bit more.

Prayer: Lord, give me ears to hear the gospel, and a heart to respond. Bless the preacher who preaches to me, Lord. Lift them up as only you can.

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