How should I preach the doctrines of grace?
I think, pastorally, one must always recognize that in some of these areas people do not have the paradigms to be able immediately to take in what Scripture teaches. Sometimes they have been taught in a way that is contrary to the doctrines of grace.
So I usually say to younger men, or men who are younger than myself, “One of the best things to do with someone you think really is a Christian is sit down with them or preach to them with this question in mind, ‘How did Jesus think about this?’”
Because sometimes people think they have intellectual difficulties that are really emotional difficulties or difficulties because of what they have been taught in the past. But if they’re the Lord’s people then they trust Christ and they listen to His voice. So I think a very helpful thing to do is to show them what Jesus Himself believed.
A good illustration of that in one of the more difficult doctrines, the doctrine of election, is to take people to Jesus’ evangelistic invitation in Matthew 11:28-30, “Come to me all you who are weary and heavy laden.” Then ask people to notice what immediately precedes it, where Jesus says, “Father I thank you, Lord of Heaven and Earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to babes” (Matt. 11:25), and see that Jesus’ own evangelism has this background of His consciousness of the Father’s electing purposes.
If we know Christ and love Christ and trust Christ, I think in a sense that reduces some of the emotional prejudice that I think we often find people have against the doctrines of grace.
The other thing I would really want to emphasize is that you need to emphasize not the word doctrine but the word grace. We need to present the graciousness of the truth of the gospel.
This transcript is from a live Ask Ligonier event with Sinclair Ferguson and has been lightly edited for readability. To ask Ligonier a biblical or theological question, just visit Ask.Ligonier.org or message us on Facebook or Twitter.