Sunday Prep

When the Sermon is Done, but the Heart Needs Help

At SPT, we love the church. And because we love the church we love pastors. After all, pastors are to “care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood” (Acts 20:28). For the pastor to best care for the church—God’s blood bought people—he must have a heart warm to the work. That is, shepherds cannot be merely “going through the motions” on Sunday morning which makes Saturday night incredibly important. 

To help pastors in their prep for Sunday, we offer this weekly digest of devotional material. This content is intended to serve you by you reading or listening or watching all or some of it. You decide what is best for your heart as you further prepare for the most important day of the week. 

With you in caring for the church of God, 

~SPT


WHAT WE BELIEVE, TEACH, AND CONFESS

1689 Baptist Confession of Faith
Chapter 5: Of Divine Providence

1. God the good Creator of all things, in his infinite power and wisdom doth uphold, direct, dispose, and govern all creatures and things, from the greatest even to the least, by his most wise and holy providence, to the end for the which they were created, according unto his infallible foreknowledge, and the free and immutable counsel of his own will; to the praise of the glory of his wisdom, power, justice, infinite goodness, and mercy. ( Hebrews 1:3; Job 38:11; Isaiah 46:10, 11; Psalms 135:6; Matthew 10:29-31; Ephesians 1:11 )

2. Although in relation to the foreknowledge and decree of God, the first cause, all things come to pass immutably and infallibly; so that there is not anything befalls any by chance, or without his providence; yet by the same providence he ordereth them to fall out according to the nature of second causes, either necessarily, freely, or contingently. ( Acts 2:23; Proverbs 16:33; Genesis 8:22)

3. God, in his ordinary providence maketh use of means, yet is free to work without, above, and against them at his pleasure. ( Acts 27:31, 44; Isaiah 55:10, 11; Hosea 1:7; Romans 4:19-21; Daniel 3:27 )

4. The almighty power, unsearchable wisdom, and infinite goodness of God, so far manifest themselves in his providence, that his determinate counsel extendeth itself even to the first fall, and all other sinful actions both of angels and men; and that not by a bare permission, which also he most wisely and powerfully boundeth, and otherwise ordereth and governeth, in a manifold dispensation to his most holy ends; yet so, as the sinfulness of their acts proceedeth only from the creatures, and not from God, who, being most holy and righteous, neither is nor can be the author or approver of sin. ( Romans 11:32-34; 2 Samuel 24:1, 1 Chronicles 21:1; 2 Kings 19:28; Psalms 76;10; Genesis 1:20; Isaiah 10:6, 7, 12; Psalms 1:21; 1 John 2:16 )

5. The most wise, righteous, and gracious God doth oftentimes leave for a season his own children to manifold temptations and the corruptions of their own hearts, to chastise them for their former sins, or to discover unto them the hidden strength of corruption and deceitfulness of their hearts, that they may be humbled; and to raise them to a more close and constant dependence for their support upon himself; and to make them more watchful against all future occasions of sin, and for other just and holy ends. So that whatsoever befalls any of his elect is by his appointment, for his glory, and their good. ( 2 Chronicles 32:25, 26, 31; 2 Corinthians 12:7-9; Romans 8:28 )

6. As for those wicked and ungodly men whom God, as the righteous judge, for former sin doth blind and harden; from them he not only withholdeth his grace, whereby they might have been enlightened in their understanding, and wrought upon their hearts; but sometimes also withdraweth the gifts which they had, and exposeth them to such objects as their corruption makes occasion of sin; and withal, gives them over to their own lusts, the temptations of the world, and the power of Satan, whereby it comes to pass that they harden themselves, under those means which God useth for the softening of others. ( Romans 1:24-26, 28; Romans 11:7, 8; Deuteronomy 29:4; Matthew 13:12; Deuteronomy 2:30; 2 Kings 8:12, 13; Psalms 81:11, 12; 2 Thessalonians 2:10-12; Exodus 8:15, 32; Isaiah 6:9, 10; 1 Peter 2:7, 8 )

7. As the providence of God doth in general reach to all creatures, so after a more special manner it taketh care of his church, and disposeth of all things to the good thereof. ( 1 Timothy 4:10; Amos 9:8, 9; Isaiah 43:3-5 )

[To read the whole confession, go here.]


OVERHEARD

“Be sure to speak plainly” by Charles Spurgeon

Be sure to speak plainly because, however excellent your matter, if a man does not comprehend it, it can be of no use to him.

You might as well have spoken to him in the language of Kamskatka as in your own tongue if you use phrases that are quite out of his line and modes of expression which are not suitable to his mind.

Go up to his level if he is a poor man; go down to his understanding if he is an educated person. You smile at my contorting the terms in that manner, but I think there is more going up in being plain to the illiterate than there is in being refined for the polite.

At any rate, it is the more difficult of the two, and most like the Saviour’s mode of speech. It is wise to walk in a path where your auditors can accompany you, and not to mount the high horse and ride over their heads.

Our Lord and Master was the King of preachers, and yet He never was above anybody’s comprehension, except so far as the grandeur and glory of His matter were concerned; His words and utterances were such that He spake like ‘the holy child Jesus.’

Let your hearts indite a good matter, clearly arranged and plainly put, and you are pretty sure to gain the ear, and so the heart.

–Charles H. Spurgeon, Lectures to My Students: A Selection from Addresses Delivered to the Students of the Pastors’ College, Metropolitan Tabernacle (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1875/2008), 1: 141.

[HT: Tolle Lege]


TWEET OF THE WEEK


DOXOLOGY
Come Adore the Humble King (Matt Boswell & Matt Papa)

[Verse 1]
Come adore the humble King
Lowly in the manger
Fall before His majesty
Hail the little Savior
Hope what hope no tongue could tell
God has come with us to dwell
His name is Emmanuel
O praise the humble King

[Verse 2]
Come adore in humble state
He the song of angels
Join the wise who call His name
And with all creation
Who oh who would condescend
God unknown now calls us friend
Love that none could comprehend
O praise the humble King

[Verse 3]
Come adore the King who came
To our world to save us
Born to heal our prideful race
Crown us with forgiveness
Fall oh fall before the one
Who in mercy left His throne
Christ the Lord God’s only Son
His glories now we sing
O praise the humble King


NOTA BENE

Toward Christian Eccentricity (Michael Pohlman)

The Lord’s Supper is Not Penance (R. Scott Clark)

How Not to Debate Ideas in the Public Square (Kevin DeYoung)

Women Pastors, Women Preachers, and the Looming Test of the SBC (Albert Mohler)