Mint . . . Pepper that is

Giving no offence in any thing, that the ministry be not blamed. ~ 2 Corinthians 6:3

Giving no offence in any thing, that the ministry be not blamed. ~ 2 Corinthians 6:3

A curiously strong tip for preachers.

You probably recognize those little white mints. You probably also think I am going to say something about fresh breath. I wouldn’t want to disappoint you.

Here are three blessed benefits of those curiously strong peppermints.

  1. Fresh breath. The preacher will be engaged in many conversations before and after a service. Out of a desire to “give none offence” even in this small matter, a small peppermint will make the conversations more pleasant for everyone involved.
  2. Helps dry throat. Preaching tends to dry out the throat and mouth. This leads to the strong and near irresistible desire to cough. However, in a crowded foyer, a cough may be difficult or impolite to execute. Some would choose a cough drop to soothe the throat. An admirable choice, particularly if the flavor is honey lemon or black cherry. Cough drops tend to smell overwhelmingly medicinal, so a peppermint is an better choice in this situation.
  3. Soothes a nervous stomach. Ah, the little known power of the peppermint. It does have the ability to comfort an upset stomach. It is probably not going to help much if you are actually sick. But, if you have a little case of the jitters, peppermint can help. For this to work, you need strong peppermint and the less like candy, the better. Not that I know anything about nervous stomachs.

But, what are the drawbacks? I see primarily two.

  1. Noisy. When that little tin is about half full, it makes a lot of noise when you are walking. In the preacher’s pocket, it can beat out quite a cadence while you are walking to the pulpit. Add to this the fact that the crowd is generally quiet while waiting on you to ascend, and the noise can be amusing or embarrassing depending on your temperament.
  2. Numbing. Too many mints too close to fellowship mealtime and you are not going to be tasting your food well. I suppose this could be a blessing depending on where you are.

A little lighter post than usual, but a practical tip nonetheless.

The Moment of Preaching

Preach the word ~ 2 Timothy 4:2

Preach the word ~ 2 Timothy 4:2

Preaching is a momentary act with eternal consequences. Someone more astute than I probably said that before. The point seems to be that we cannot overstate the seriousness of the preaching moment.

There are several competing desires within me when I enter the pulpit. On the one hand, I have strong desires that Christ will be exalted and His Word honored in such a way that the people will leave impressed with Him. I have strong desires that the Word will be burned on the people’s hearts and though they might forget my name, they will not forget His Word.

On the other hand, strong desires reside in my flesh. I am tempted to relish the attention, to want to be liked and thought of highly. I am tempted to seek approval and congratulation. These are the desires that must be put to death. I walk in Romans 7 every time I enter the pulpit.

I enter into the pulpit with fear and trembling. The most dangerous place to stand in the assembly is in the pulpit. Jesus rebuked the Pharisees for seeking the praise of men in their works.

But all their works they do for to be seen of men ~ Matthew 23:5

Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. ~ Matthew 6:2

And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. ~ Matthew 6:5

Because you are physically seen of men in the pulpit, the temptation is strong to perform. The way seems so open and so easy to thieve God’s glory.

My prayer and heart-cry for that moment is that God will save me from myself and bind my heart fast to Him. My aim and my hope in that moment is to preach a perfect sermon. What is a perfect sermon? A perfect sermon is one where the only obvious and memorable element is Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 4:5).

What is Biblical Preaching?

And Ezra the priest brought the law before the congregation both of men and women ~ Nehemiah 8:2

And Ezra the priest brought the law before the congregation both of men and women ~ Nehemiah 8:2

Preaching is prominent in the Scriptures.

  1. In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea ~ Matthew 3:1
  2. From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. ~ Matthew 4:17
  3. And they went out, and preached that men should repent. ~ Mark 6:12
  4. Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. ~ Acts 20:28
  5. Feed the flock of God, which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind ~ 1 Peter 5:2
  6. Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. ~ 2 Timothy 4:2
  7. Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. ~ 1 Timothy 4:13

Preaching should likewise be prominent in our lives. We are fed by preaching, nourished by preaching, instructed by preaching, reproved by preaching. What is biblical preaching? How are we to know if we are under a biblical ministry? Nehemiah 8:1-12 addresses this question, showing four characteristics of biblical preaching.

  1. Biblical preaching must originate and continue in the Word of God. God’s Word is mentioned seven times in Nehemiah 8:1-9 as being the subject and object.
  2. Biblical preaching must expound God’s Word. Ezra “gave the sense” of the text he read (Nehemiah 8:8). Exposition is explaining the meaning and intent of a passage in light of context, grammar, and the totality of Scripture.
  3. Biblical preaching must be for understanding not deception nor obfuscation. The people left Ezra with understanding of what he taught (Nehemiah 8:12).
  4. Biblical preaching must be for the joy of the people. Ezra exhorted the people to joy after they had wept at the words of the Law (Nehemiah 8:9-12). The preacher should cherish the glory of Christ in his preaching and yearn to see his people glad in God.

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