Exhortations for Pastoral Preaching -- By: William G. Hughes

Journal: Reformation and Revival
Volume: RAR 01:4 (Fall 1992)
Article: Exhortations for Pastoral Preaching
Author: William G. Hughes

Exhortations for Pastoral Preaching

William G. Hughes

There is great wisdom and great value in convening a fraternal for those men called to the Christian ministry. It provides a place where men can come together and study the things that are precious to the servants of God and learn from one another concerning their pastoral ministry. These practical exhortations were first written with such a fraternal in view and are shared now in hopes of ministering to God’s servant pastors in a wider fashion.

Richard Baxter, in his classic The Reformed Pastor, in a section titled “The Pastor’s Dedication,” writes:

O brethren, watch therefore over your own hearts. Keep up the life of faith and love. Be much at home and much with God. Take heed to yourselves, therefore, lest you should be void of that saving grace of God which you offer to others, and be strangers to the effectual working of that gospel which you preach. And lest while you proclaim the necessity of the Savior to the world, your own hearts should neglect Him. Take heed to yourselves, lest you perish while you call upon others to take heed of perishing. And lest you famish yourselves while you prepare their food. Many a tailor goes in rags that maketh costly clothes for others. And many a cook scarcely licks his fingers when he hath dressed for others the most costly dishes. Take heed to yourselves that you believe that which you daily persuade them to believe.

I believe that we need, as ministers of the gospel, to continually remind ourselves of those things most surely believed among us. There is a great necessity to do this in the day and age in which we live, because the very pressures of life and of pastoral ministry can cause us to neglect our own hearts. We, too, are in danger of what Baxter mentions, the danger of familiarity which often breeds contempt.

I remember the first time I visited the Tower of London to see the crown jewels. In order to see the jewels themselves

you must go into a kind of inner sanctum that is extremely well guarded. Here you see the Edwardian crown, various other crowns, the scepter, the orb, the swords of state, etc. They are all in glass cases on round turntables with the light playing upon them. It is almost a breathtaking experience to see for the first time the color, beauty, and magnificence of these crown jewels. I recall looking at them, and my breath was almost taken away, standing there in awe as I gazed intently. Then I looked across and there was one of the Beefeaters you see at the Tower of London. He was standing there yawning as if the whole thing meant absolutely nothing to him.

You see, it is possible t...

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