Insight into Substantive Preaching (5)

Mark Minnick

In Part One of this series, Dr. Minnick introduces a substantive sermon by Benjamin Keach. We also gave you just a taste of the first couple of paragraphs of the sermon.

In Part Two of this series, we offered the full introduction to the sermon and the first major point.

In Part Three, we gave again the first two paragraphs of introduction as well as the second major point.

Dr. Minnick’s original article spanned two editions of FrontLine. His second installment included a new introduction and the final point, followed by an application section and Dr. Minnick’s analysis. We offered the final point in Part Four.

In this part we offer Keach’s Application.


1. Woe to such that esteem their own filthy rags above this garment of salvation, or that seem to set light by it: Hath God the Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost held a council before the world began about the salvation of our soul—and hath each person of the blessed Trinity such a part in order to the making of it to be effectual to us—and shall any dare to say there is no need of this garment? We may work a robe out of our own bowels by the operations of the Spirit that will serve to hide our nakedness—trouble not us with your old divinity. We are for rational religion.

He that is righteous, and obeys Christ, and leads a godly life need not doubt of his salvation. For in every nation, he that feareth God and worketh righteousness is accepted of him (Acts 10:35). O how ready are men to abuse the Scripture! Can any man think that his own personal inherent righteousness can either justify or save him? Or that the Apostle Peter means any such thing? God may so far accept of a man in his obedience, in which he acts in all sincerity and faithfulness to him, as to hear his prayers, so as to reveal himself to him in Christ as he did to Cornelius. But was Cornelius a believer, and justified before he heard of Jesus Christ, and had faith wrought in his soul? See how Peter preached Christ for life and salvation to this man. Notwithstanding all his own righteousness, Peter was commanded of God to tell him what he should do that he might be saved, plainly intimating he did not know the way, or how to be saved before Peter preached Christ to him: He (saith the Lord) shall tell thee what thou oughtest to do. And in verse 43, Peter said, To him (that is, to Jesus Christ) gave all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him, should receive remission of sins.

Will any say Cornelius had remission of sins before he heard this sermon and believed in Jesus Christ? Was not Peter sent to him (and to those other Gentiles with him) that they might be converted? O take heed you stumble not at this stone, lest if fall on you and grind you to powder.

2. Dare any of you think that this salvation is but a small matter and that you need not trouble yourselves about it? O tremble, you who never had one serious thought about it to this day. You have other things to mind, are full of business— but, O sirs, what is of such moment as this salvation? Yet nevertheless some will not spare time to hear it, or to attend upon the word of this salvation. Others will not part with the love of this world, to have a part in it. They value their earthly riches, pleasures, and honours above it. Nay, too many esteem their filthy lusts more than an interest in this great salvation. But what contempt do such persons cast upon the great God, who hath manifested such depths of divine wisdom, grace and goodness in bringing of it in, and working of it out for our precious souls. Did they know what God is, Christ is, salvation is, certainly they would change their opinion and not a little blame themselves for their great folly.

Brethren, a true and spiritual knowledge of the great salvation of the Gospel makes all the things of the world seem little, nay nothing, in comparison thereof. All things that carnal men have their hearts set upon are poor, thin and beggarly things when compared to grace here and glory hereafter. No sooner had Paul a true sight of this great salvation but immediately he consulted not with flesh and blood. When the sweetness of Christ and salvation is tasted, and a soul knows how good and satisfying it is, everything that hath a tincture of flesh and blood, all carnal interests and fleshly counsels expire. A full sight of this salvation seems to make life uneasy and death desirable. Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, for mine eyes have seen thy salvation. Nothing in this world could be worthy a thought of He made the garment. The Holy Spirit puts it on the soul. The garment of salvation is Christ’s righteousness. Again, the Father sought out or chose the Bride, the Son espouses and marries her, but it is the Holy Ghost that inclines her heart and stirs up, nay that causes the soul to like and to love this blessed Lover, and brings it to yield and consent to accept heartily and willingly his heart since his eyes had seen God’s salvation. What did he see? It was Jesus Christ the Author of salvation, in whom he knew was salvation and in no other. He that lives so long as to see Christ by an eye of faith to be his Saviour and his salvation will be willing to leave this world, be willing to die, because he shall then die in peace. . . .

3. This reproves such who delay seeking after the knowledge of this salvation. If it be so great, it must and ought first of all be regarded: Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness. Maybe ere long you will wish you had sought after Christ and salvation by him before all things when you come to lie upon a sick bed. O sirs, you will need it at last and maybe seek it when too late. . . .

4. Here is comfort and encouragement for the worst of sinners. Are you such who are and have been great sinners? Well, let it be so, yet be not cast down into utter despair, for here is a great Saviour. You have heard of his mighty power and ability to save. And he saith, All that the Father hath given to me, shall come unto me (John 6:37). Ay but you perhaps may say, You know not who they be that the Father hath given to Christ. Well, what of that? Pray mind his next words, And he that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. [And] Whosoever believeth in him, shall not perish, but have everlasting life (John 3:16). Receive this Saviour. Believe in Him and you shall be saved whosoever you are. It is not the greatness of your sins that can hinder or obstruct him from saving your souls. Though your sins be as red as scarlet or as red as crimson he will wash them all away and make you as white as wool, as white as snow.

5. Also, here is good news for poor sin-sick sinners, to wounded and lost sinners. Though your sins be as red as scarlet or as red as crimson he will wash them all away and make you as white as wool. The whole need not a physician, but such that are sick. I am not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance (Mt. 9:12–13). Such indeed who are conceited of their own righteousness or swelled with a good opinion of their own good works, good needs, and good duties will not come to Christ. Such think they have need no such physician as Christ is. But you that see you have no righteousness of your own, but that all your righteousness is as dung, O look to Christ, hear what he says to such that are lost, that are under the burden of their sins, and wounded ones— Come to me all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest (Mt. 11:28).

6. . . . O know you, sinners, this day, that Jesus Christ, this glorious King and Prince of the kings of the earth, this mighty Saviour is come to your doors. Behold I stand at the door and knock (Rev. 3:20). Will you not open the door, nor cry to him to help you to open to him, to enable you to believe in him? What do you say, shall the Son of God stand at your doors and you not so much as ask, Who is there? Who is at my door?

Shall Christ be kept out of your hearts and stand at your doors whilst sin commands the chiefest room and has absolute power over you and rules in you? How will you be able to look this blessed Saviour in the face another day? Is he come through a sea of blood to offer his love to you and to espouse you unto himself forever, and will not you be persuaded to break your league with your old lovers who will at last stab you at the very heart and betray your souls into the hands of Divine wrath? Nay, they have done it already. What are your lovers but your lusts, your pride, your earthlymindedness, your sinful pleasures, profits and honours? O resolve to desert them. They otherwise will damn your souls forever and expose you to the torments of Hell-fire.

To deliver you from them and from that wrath which is due to you for them (I mean, for your sins) is Christ come. And this great Saviour is offered to you. The Lord help every one of you to consider of this and to lay it to heart.

To be continued…

Dr. Mark Minnick is the pastor of Mount Calvary Baptist Church in Greenville, South Carolina, and serves as adjunct professor of preaching and exposition at Bob Jones Seminary.

(Originally published in FrontLine • March / April 2004. Click here to subscribe to the magazine.)