Series: Secondhand Sermons
AKA: Hand-Me-Down Homilies
From: The Expositor’s Antique Shoppe
Sermon #1: Convicted to Christ
The catechetical method of instruction and education was widespread, and recommended for centuries in Christian education.
An example from the 17th century:
James Ussher, A Body of Divinity: Or, The Sum And Substance Of Christian Religion Catechistically propounded and explained, by way of Question and Answer. Methodically and familiarly handled, for the use of Families., ed. Michael Nevarr (Birmingham, AL: Solid Ground Christian Books, 2007; from 1648 original).
An example from the 19th century:
Robert Lewis Dabney, Lectures in Systematic Theology (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, n.d.; 1985 reprint from Syllabus and Notes of the Course of Systematic Theology and Polemic Theology Taught in Union Theological Seminary, Virginia, 6th ed., Richmond: Presbyterian Committee of Publication, 1927).
Question: What conviction of a state of sin, and of the guilt of sin, is necessary to cause a soul sincerely to look after Christ?
Sinclair B. Ferguson, John Owen on the Christian Life (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1987), pg. 51.
John Owen, The Works of John Owen, 16 vols., ed. William H. Goold (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, n.d.; 1965 reprint of Johnstone & Hunter ed. of 1850-1853), IX:359-361, cp. IX:292-293.
I. A man must realize he is not righteous in and of himself (Mk. 2:17)
II. He must have a sense of dis-ease with sin (Mt. 9:12)
III. He must be weary of his own efforts for acceptance with God, and see that it can be found in Christ alone (Mt. 11:28)
Why is this important?
1. You may not be a Christian even if you think you are if you have not dealt with these issues. This is not a subject to be ignored, or lightly dismissed.
2. You may be involved in evangelizing others who need to understand where they are at in relation to Christ. You need to understand what to press home to the lost while ministering the Gospel to them. These are considered “indispensable” by Owen, and should be by ourselves as well.
3. We all need to maintain these attitudes toward sin, righteousness and the Savior throughout our Christian lives by coming back to the foot of the Cross regularly.
I. A man must realize he is not righteous in and of himself.
Mark 2:17 — When Jesus heard it, he saith unto them, They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.
Context (Mk. 2:13-17):
13 And he went forth again by the sea side; and all the multitude resorted unto him, and he taught them. 14 And as he passed by, he saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the receipt of custom, and said unto him, Follow me. And he arose and followed him. 15 And it came to pass, that, as Jesus sat at meat in his house, many publicans and sinners sat also together with Jesus and his disciples: for there were many, and they followed him. 16 And when the scribes and Pharisees saw him eat with publicans and sinners, they said unto his disciples, How is it that he eateth and drinketh with publicans and sinners? 17 When Jesus heard it, he saith unto them, They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.
1 Tim. 1:15 — This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.
1. Those who trust in themselves that they are righteous
Rom. 10:3 — For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.
2. Those who may not trust in themselves that they are righteous, but seek to establish their own righteousness by works of the law
II. He must have a sense of dis-ease with sin.
Matthew 9:12 — But when Jesus heard that, he said unto them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick.
Context (Mt. 9:9-13):
9 And as Jesus passed forth from thence, he saw a man, named Matthew, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he saith unto him, Follow me. And he arose, and followed him. 10 And it came to pass, as Jesus sat at meat in the house, behold, many publicans and sinners came and sat down with him and his disciples. 11 And when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto his disciples, Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners? 12 But when Jesus heard that, he said unto them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick. 13 But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.
What does it take to get you to the doctor?
Love of lollipops?
2. Fear of death
III. He must be weary of his own efforts for acceptance with God, and see that it can be found in Christ alone.
Matthew 11:28 — Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Context (Mt. 11:25-30; cp. 11:1-24):
25 At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes. 26 Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in thy sight. 27 All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him. 28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
Is. 57:10 — Thou art wearied in the greatness of thy way; yet saidst thou not, There is no hope: thou hast found the life of thine hand; therefore thou wast not grieved.
“God in a cloud”:
“When God converts a soul, he comes into it with a cloud….God generally takes possession of souls in a cloud; that is, there is some darkness upon them: they cannot tell what their state is; — sometimes they have hopes, and sometimes fears; sometimes they think things are well, and sometimes they are cast down….seldom have I heard of any that have come unto God, but that God first took possession of them in a cloud.”
1. Try, and hope
2. No hope…go unto Christ
[Sermon preached 23 AUG 2015 by Pastor John T. “Jack” Jeffery at Wayside Gospel Chapel, Greentown, PA.]
 John Owen, The Works of John Owen, 16 vols., ed. William H. Goold (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, n.d.; 1965 reprint of Johnstone & Hunter ed. of 1850-1853), IX:292-293.