Saturday, April 10, 2010

Altogether Lovely - Christ The Example Of Ministers

The seventh sermon of Jonathan Edwards from the book Altogether Lovely (Jonathan, Edwards. Altogether Lovely Jonathan Edwards on the glory and excellency of Jesus Christ. Morgan, PA: Soli Deo Gloria Publications, 1997) is entitled Christ The Example Of Ministers and was delivered at Portsmouth, at the ordination of the Rev. Mr. Job Strong, June 28, 1749.

The outline for the sermon is as follows:

Doctrine: It is the duty of ministers of the gospel, in the work of their ministry, to follow the example of their great Lord and Master.

I. I would observe wherein ministers of the gospel ought to follow the example of Christ.

II. Give some reasons why they should follow his example.

III. I would endeavor to make a proper application of those things to myself, and others that are called to this work of the ministry.

IV. Show what improvement should be made of them by the people of this church and congregation.

Edwards elaborates his first point in stating, "Then, I would show wherein ministers of the gospel ought, in the work of their ministry, to follow the example of their great Lord and Master, Jesus Christ."

Edwards delivers his first sub-point as such; "First, in general, ministers should follow their Lord and Master in all those excellent virtues, and in that universal and eminent holiness of life, which he set an example of in this human nature."

Under this heading he suggests that ministers should:
  • be persons of the same spirit that their Lord was of: the same spirit of humility and lowliness of heart; for the servant is not greater than his Lord
  • be of the same spirit of heavenly-mindedness, and contempt of the glory, wealth, and pleasures of this world
  • be of the same spirit of devotion and fervent love to God
  • follow the example of his prayerfulness
  • follow Christ’s example, in his strict, constant, and inflexible observance of the commands which God has given him, touching what he should do and what he should say
  • be persons of the same quiet, lamb-like spirit that Christ was of, the same spirit of submission to God’s will, and patience under afflictions, and meekness towards men
  • be of the same spirit of zeal, diligence, and self-denial for the glory of God, and advancement for his kingdom, and for the good of mankind; for which things’ sake Christ went though the greatest labors, and endured the most extreme sufferings

His next sub-point is declared, "Second, more particularly should ministers of the gospel follow the example of their great Master, in the manner in which they seek the salvation and happiness of the souls of men." Under this sub-point he lists, in much greater detail, 10 ways in which ministers should follow Christ's example.
  1. They should follow his example of love to souls.
  2. They should have the same spirit of compassion to men under their spiritual calamities and miseries that he had.
  3. Ministers should imitate their great Master in his fervent prayers for the good of the souls of men.
  4. Ministers should follow the example of Christ in his diligence and laboriousness in his work.
  5. Ministers should follow the example of Christ, in his readiness not only to labor, but suffer, for the salvation of souls, to spend and be spent for them.
  6. In like manner should ministers travail for the conversion and salvation of their hearers.
  7. They should imitate the faithfulness of Christ in his ministry, in speaking whatsoever God had commanded him, and declaring the whole counsel of God.
  8. They should imitate him the manner of his preaching.
  9. Ministers should follow their Master in his zeal, so wonderfully mixed and tempered with gentleness and condescension in his dealing with souls, preaching the gospel to the poor, and taking a gracious notice from time to time of little children.
  10. And they should imitate their Lord in his following the work of ministry, not from mercenary views, or for the sake of worldly advantages, but for God’s glory, and men’s salvation.

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