Browsing through ‘Design for Preaching’ by H. Grady Davis, (Fortress Press, Philadelphia, USA, 1958, ninth edition 1973) I came across an interesting topic discussed on pp 134, 135: ‘what motives should be appealed to in exhortation and persuasion? The author goes on to describe the appeals Apostles made and reminds us of the great therapeutic value they have on listeners in the audience. Perhaps we can be stimulated by this research and adopt the same measures in some of our preaching & teaching as modern day Apostles.
- Apostles appealed to God
Be imitators of God as beloved children (Ephesians 5:1)
I appeal to you by the mercies of God (Romans 2:1)
If God so loved us we also ought to love one another (I John 4:11)
- Apostles appealed to Christ
I appeal by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit (Romans 15:30)
I appeal by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ (I Corinthians 10:1)
I entreat you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ (II Corinthians 5:2)
- Apostles appealed to Christian Hope
Rejoice in hope (Romans 12:12)
Those who are patient in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality (Romans 2:7)
Since we have such hope we are very bold (II Corinthians 3:12)
As we make these apostolic appeals to people in the church we can trust these things to operate in them. As we appeal to the glory of God manifesting in people it diffuses the modern humanistic self-interest appeals that are limited and expires in a short time. They are bent on getting their own way – even with God.
Most modernistic motives are based on self-interest, defense, aggression, domination, self-mastery and love. But true Christian motives should always hinge on the glory of God and the lordship of Christ.
God has given Apostles a grace to appeal to people on behalf of God and stir up holy motivation that leads closer to God and builds unity among believers. ‘Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good: love one another with brotherly affection; outdo one another in showing honor.’
As we make these godly appeals it will motivate people from within to comply to divine standards set by the Apostolic appeals in the New Testament and bring reform in the Church that will reform the land.
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