Here are ten things that Billy Marsh reminds himself every time before preaching God's Word. He learned them from John Piper in his book The Supremacy of God in Preaching. John Piper modeled them after his hero of the faith, Jonathan Edwards.
Make God Supreme in Preaching (Modeled after Jonathan Edwards):
- Stir Up “Holy Affections” - things like hate for sin, delight in God, hope in His promises, gratitude for His mercy, desire for holiness, tender compassion.
- Enlighten the Mind - The teaching of deep doctrine. Heat and Light. Burn and Shine. Heat in the heart (holy affections) and Light in the Mind (deep doctrine).
- Saturate with Scripture - Don’t generalize the text. Quote the Text! Say the actual words. “Good preaching does not sit on Scripture like a basis of saying other things. It oozes Scripture.”
- Employ Analogies and Images - “His [Edwards] sermons abound with images and analogies to give lift to the understanding and heat to the affections.”
- Use Threat and Warning - “Some talk of it as an unreasonable thing to think to fright persons to heaven; but I think it is a reasonable thing to endeavor to fright persons away from hell-tis a reasonable thing to fright a person out of a house of fire.” (Edwards)
- Plead for a Response - “It is a tragedy to see pastors state the facts and sit down. Good preaching pleads with people to respond to the Word of God.” (Pleading is not a synonym for “altar call”)
- Probe the Workings of the Heart - “Powerful preaching is like surgery. Under the anointing of the Holy Spirit it locates, lances, and removes the infections of sin.”
- Yield to the Holy Spirit in Power - “. . . the Holy Spirit fills the heart with holy affections and the heart fills the mouth.” (Piper); “When a person is in an holy and lively frame in secret prayer; it will wondrously supply him with matter and with expressions . . . [in] preaching.” (Edwards)
- Be Broken and Tenderhearted - “Good preaching comes from a spirit of brokenness and tenderness. For all his authority and power, Jesus was attractive because he was ‘gentle and lowly in heart’ which made him a place of rest (Matt 11:29).”
- Be Intense - “Lack of intensity in preaching can only communicate that the preacher does not believe or has never been seriously gripped by the reality of which he speaks-or that the subject matter is significant.”