Thursday, October 26, 2006

Questions in Edwards' Sermons

I have been thinking about Edwards use of questions in his sermon application. If you have any examples of this please add them in the comments section below. Here is a striking example from a sermon "What is meant by believing in Christ?"

"Have your eyes ever been opened to see the glorious excellency of Jesus Christ? Has the light of the Word of God ever shined into your hearts so that to see the excellency of that Word that teaches Christ and the way of salvation by him? Has the Word of Christ been sweeter to you than the honey on the honeycomb?

Is the Word of Christ sweet food to your soul that puts new life into you and is better than silver or gold? Do you see your need you have of Christ? Do you see what poor, wicked, miserable creatures you are? Do you see that all your goodness, all your prayers and all that you do is not worthy to be accepted of God and can never pay for your sins? Is your heart broken for your sin, and do you see what a filthy, vile, abominable creature you are?

Do you see that you don't deserve any mercy, that you deserve to be cast into hell forever for your wickedness? Do you see that you are like a poor, little infant who can't help yourself? Does your whole heart go to Christ and him alone as your Saviour? Do you give your heart to Christ, and are you willing with all your heart to give yourself to Christ to be his people forever and ever? Are you willing to forsake all for Jesus Christ? The Scriptures say that he who believes in Christ is like a man who sells all for one pearl of great price (Matt, 13:46). Are you willing to forsake all your sins, forsake all the world for Christ?"
The Blessing of God: Previously Unpublished Sermons of Jonathan Edwards ed Michael D. McMullen. p.245


Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is interesting that you should draw attention to this aspect of Edwards' preaching. Is it his directed questions that add rhetorical power to his preaching? Is it a dimension of preaching that is lost in our day of of exegetically correct sermons that are devoid of personal application?

2:54 pm  
Blogger Matt Wienken said...

The searching and specific applications are indeed part of what is often missing in today's preaching. I had a professor who rightly said, "Nothing gets dynamic until it gets specific." I believe he actually used the phrase in support of giving specific illustrations, which while relatively absent (at least in the concrete-real-life-situation-story variety)in Edwards preaching, is made up for by the specificity of his psycho-spiritual applications. We need both specific illustration and application (and exegesis!) but too often only get one, with a nod to the other.

On a related note, I honestly don't think I could sit through a lot of Edwards sermons. The content is great for reading, but for listening I think my little mind wants more color. Spurgeon-like, if you will. On the other hand, if I could see and hear Edwards deliver his sermons with "the intensity of inchworm" I think I might be caught up to Heaven itself! Just some thoughts. :)

6:46 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The question is the doorway to the heart. It brings it home. Edwards has been with his master Jesus. "What if a man gain the whole world yet forfeit his soul?"

9:40 pm  

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