Sermons

Summary: To build a church, or to build the Kingdom of God, requires a vision that permits others to carry on the work you have begun.

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“David said, ‘Here shall be the house of the LORD God and here the altar of burnt offering for Israel.’

“David commanded to gather together the resident aliens who were in the land of Israel, and he set stonecutters to prepare dressed stones for building the house of God. David also provided great quantities of iron for nails for the doors of the gates and for clamps, as well as bronze in quantities beyond weighing, and cedar timbers without number, for the Sidonians and Tyrians brought great quantities of cedar to David. For David said, ‘Solomon my son is young and inexperienced, and the house that is to be built for the LORD must be exceedingly magnificent, of fame and glory throughout all lands. I will therefore make preparation for it.’ So David provided materials in great quantity before his death.

“Then he called for Solomon his son and charged him to build a house for the LORD, the God of Israel. David said to Solomon, ‘My son, I had it in my heart to build a house to the name of the LORD my God. But the word of the LORD came to me, saying, “You have shed much blood and have waged great wars. You shall not build a house to my name, because you have shed so much blood before me on the earth. Behold, a son shall be born to you who shall be a man of rest. I will give him rest from all his surrounding enemies. For his name shall be Solomon, and I will give peace and quiet to Israel in his days. He shall build a house for my name. He shall be my son, and I will be his father, and I will establish his royal throne in Israel forever.”

“‘Now, my son, the LORD be with you, so that you may succeed in building the house of the LORD your God, as he has spoken concerning you. Only, may the LORD grant you discretion and understanding, that when he gives you charge over Israel you may keep the law of the LORD your God. Then you will prosper if you are careful to observe the statutes and the rules that the LORD commanded Moses for Israel. Be strong and courageous. Fear not; do not be dismayed. With great pains I have provided for the house of the LORD 100,000 talents of gold, a million talents of silver, and bronze and iron beyond weighing, for there is so much of it; timber and stone, too, I have provided. To these you must add. You have an abundance of workmen: stonecutters, masons, carpenters and all kinds of craftsmen without number, skilled in working gold, silver, bronze and iron. Arise and work! The LORD be with you!’” [1]

Spurgeon is quoted as saying that he grazed in many pastures but churned his own butter. This is a folksy way of saying that he was indebted to others for the ideas and for the concepts that were presented through the messages he preached. Just so, any preacher must confess that he owes a great debt to other servants of God; no one is truly original. I am compelled to confess that I’ve never had an original thought in my ministry; I’ve stood on the shoulder of giants. Each of us learns from others, we gain insight from others and we obtain ideas from others. The preaching that is delivered from any pulpit is the sum of influences of those who preceded in the service to Christ the King. That is especially true in my own ministry.

Those who know me will know that I read widely. I enjoy a variety of literature forms, but among my favourite literature are books of sermons. Reading great sermons has served to stimulate my mind, suggesting great themes that I would otherwise pass over. Great sermons have served not only to enrich me, but to bless the congregations I have served. Though my message is apostolic, my preaching—the sermons that are crafted and the style in which those sermons are presented—is the sum of those men whose works and whose ideas have shaped my life. In turn, the sermons of these men were shaped by the writings of the Apostles and those who have provided the New Testament books. Adherence to the apostolic message has made those sermons great.

Numbered among the preachers to whom I owe a great debt is Dr. H. Gordon Clinard, a scholar who held appointment to the positions of Professor of Bible at Hardin-Simmons University, Professor of Preaching at Southwestern Baptist Seminary and as the Billy Graham Chair of Evangelism at Southern Seminary. Dr. Clinard preached a sermon with this exact title and from this precise text some years past. [2] Dr. Clinard’s message stimulated me to review the text, updating the material for this day and for this congregation.

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