When Iain Murray gave several warnings regarding today’s resurgence of “expository preaching”, one of his concerns was the general demise of the “evangelistic sermon”. Remembering this, when I saw David Murray’s series, “What’s happened to Evangelistic Preaching?” I immediately download it. In that series David Murray addresses four key points:
- The Rarity of Evangelistic Preaching
- The Reasons for Evangelistic Preaching
- The Range of Evangelistic Preaching
- The Results of Evangelistic Preaching
This subject has been on my mind since Iain Murray first raised it, so David’s subsequent words have been extremely helpful in understanding what it is they were on about. I confess, I’d never considered anything within the Church besides a “teaching sermon”. I think I would fall into David Murray’s a “teaching sermon with an evangelistic PS” category. That said, I always aim to preach Christ and bring the Gospel forth throughout the sermon as the Gospel is for Christians too; however, if you read the series you’ll realise that “evangelistic preaching” is different again.
I’ve been challenged by this and I’ll continue to pray and read in this area. May I encourage you to read David Murray’s series, and I’ll leave you with a fascinating quote by Martin Lloyd-Jones (quoted in David’s series):
“If I am asked which sermons I wrote, I have already said that I used to divide my ministry, as I still do, into edification of the saints in the morning and a more evangelistic sermon in the evening. Well, my practice was to write my evangelistic sermon. I did so because I felt that in speaking to the saints, to the believers, one could feel more relaxed. There, one was speaking in the realm of the family. In other words, I believe that one should be unusually careful in evangelistic sermons. That is why the idea that a fellow who is merely gifted with a certain amount of glibness of speech and self-confidence, not to say cheek, can make an evangelist is all wrong. The greatest men should always be the evangelists, and generally have been; and the idea that Tom, Dick and Harry can be put up to speak on a street corner, but you must have a great preacher in a pulpit in a church is, to me, the reversing of the right order. It is when addressing the unbelieving world that we need to be most careful; and therefore I used to write my evangelistic sermon and not the other…”