Preaching with Patience (Mc’Cheyne)

Have you ever heard an angry man preach an angry sermon? It’s usually not an edifying situation and it seems to put fuel on the fire of other people’s anger. Angry preaching makes angry people. In fact, Scripture calls preachers to preach with all patience: “Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction” (2 Tim. 4:2 NASB; emphasis mine). The command for preaching with patience also ties in with Paul’s instruction for Timothy to not argue, but be kind to all, patient with difficult people, and gentle when instructing his opponents (2 Tim 2:24-25). Pastors (myself included!) must take this to heart for sure, especially when in the pulpit. Here’s what Robert Murray McCheyne wrote about patient preaching:

There is no grace more needed in the Christian ministry than this. This is the heart of God the Father towards sinners: “He is long-suffering towards us, not willing that any should perish.” This is the heart of the Lord Jesus. How tenderly does He cry, “Oh! Jerusalem, Jerusalem, how often would I,” etc. This is the mind of the Holy Spirit in striving with men. He will not always strive, but oh how long He does strive with men!

Dear believers, had He not striven long with us, we would this day have been like Lot’s life, monuments of grace resisted. Now, such ought ministers to be. Above all men we need “love that suffers long and is kind.” Sometimes, when sinners are obstinate and hard-hearted, we are tempted to give up in despair, or to lose temper and scold them, like the disciples calling down fire from heaven. But, brethren, we must be of another spirit. The wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God. Only be filled with the Spirit of Christ, and it will make us patient toward all. It will make us cry, “How often would I,” etc

Memoirs and Remains of the Rev. Robert Murray McCheyne (Edinburgh & London: Oliphant Anderson and Ferrier, 1894).

Shane Lems
Covenant Presbyterian Church, OPC
Hammond, WI,

%d bloggers like this: