Preacher Workshops – Glasgow & Edinburgh

2Tim4_logo_940x1982018 is just over the horizon. That means that church leaders such as myself, need to be getting ourselves into gear with regards to sermon planning.

The 2 Timothy 4 Trust wants to help us in this task. They are running two repeat seminars on Saturday mornings in November 2017, one in Glasgow the other in Edinburgh.

Peter Grainger, former pastor of Charlotte Chapel, will provide a seminar on planning a healthy preaching diet. I will then have the privilege of sharing some lessons learned from preaching a series on Leviticus. There will also be an opportunity for group discussion to cross-fertilise ideas in the field of sermon-series planning.

So the dates are…

  • Saturday 11th November – Greenview Evangelical Church, Glasgow (9.30-12.30)
  • Saturday 25th November – Charlotte Baptist Chapel, Edinburgh (9.30-12.30)

To book your place, email The event is free of charge.


Five Offerings That Point To One

The Bible’s epicentre is the person and work of Jesus Christ. We could unpack that a little by saying that in the Old Testament Jesus’ person and work are predicted, while in the New his person is revealed and his work accomplished.

In terms of Jesus’ work, the cross of course is key. Calvary was the supreme place where our redemption was accomplished. It was on the accursed tree that Jesus blood was shed, the blood that “obtained eternal redemption” (Hebrews 9:12).

Hebrews also makes it clear that Jesus sin offering was “once for all” (Hebrews 10:10). The offering was unique; one-of-a-kind.

However just because of an offering a single, doesn’t imply that it is simple. Christ’s offering is multi-faceted in terms of its glory! So much is this the case that the Jewish sacrificial system had to forecast the one offering by way of five previews! No one Old Testament offering could alone encapsulate the brilliance of Christ’s atonement.

So without further ado let me  summarise the five main offerings found in Leviticus(chapters 1 -7). I’ve made some suggestions as to these offerings relate to Christ and then to the Christian/church.*Screenshot (140)

The Burnt Offering

Key features:

The basic offering that made atonement. The whole offering was burned on the altar and totally consumed. Everything goes to God.

Relation to Christ:

Christ is our burnt offering. His death made atonement for our sin. On the cross, Christ offered himself up completely. He was totally consumed but his sacrifice was pleasing to the Father.


Praise! “This the power of the cross, Christ became sin for us; took the blame, bore the wrath, we stand forgiven at the cross.” In view of God’s mercies, our lives are now to be wholly consecrated to God.

The Grain Offering

Key features:

The only bloodless offering. Small amount of grain burned on the altar; most of the grain eaten by the priests and their families. Emphasises the bountiful provision of God to us and our response of thanksgiving and worship.

Relation to Christ:

Jesus is the perfect grain offering. He is the bread who has come down from heaven. He is the fine flour that is offered to God: a picture of his sinless life.


We give thanks to God not only for the death of Christ but the life of Christ. We express thankfulness to God, not only as our Creator but as our redeemer. Note that this offering usually followed the burnt offering (ie. it was a response to the atonement that had been made). We’re in Romans 12:1-2 territory again.

The Fellowship Offering

Key features:

The only offering where the sacrifice was split three ways. Part goes to the LORD, part to the priest, and part to the worshipper. An emphasis on fellowship with God following on from atonement (burnt offering).

Relation to Christ:

Christ died in order to reconcile sinners to God. He brings us into fellowship with Himself, the Father and the Spirit.

Relation to the Christian

Fellowship with God is the goal of our salvation. Our sins having been forgiven, we have the prospect of feasting with our priest (Jesus) in the presence of the LORD. Communion is a foretaste of what is to come. The new heavens and earth is pictured as a great wedding feast.

The Sin Offering

Key features:

An offering that emphasised the need for cleansing and purification. Used for unintentional sins and also in the case of ritual uncleanness. In some cases of the sin offering, the tabernacle had to be cleansed because the priest’s sins had defiled it. This offering also involved taking part of the animal “outside the camp” to burn it.

Relation to Christ:

Jesus cleanses us from all unrighteousness. To make us clean, Jesus was taken outside the camp (Jerusalem) to be crucified.

Relation to the Christian:

Sin is an objective category (even unintentional sins need to be forgiven). We can only be cleansed through the blood of Christ. We are loved to the very core of our being (cleansed consciences).

The Guilt Offering:


Sometimes called the ‘reparation’ offering, this offering carried a commercial notion. Where God’s “holy things” had been wrongly taken or misused, this offering had to be made; and in any cases where an individual defrauded another financially. A ram had to be offered, the money had to be repaid in full, and a 20% additional charge had to be given on top.

Relation to Christ:

Christ is the one who pays the price for our sins. He pays not just over and above; his blood has infinite value.

Relation to the Christian:

In salvation terms, there is no more to pay…The invoice from heaven reads “paid in full.” Nevertheless, the one who has been forgiven much, loves much. A heart set free from sin will turn from sin and joyfully demonstrate both repentance and generosity. The story of Zacchaeus is exhibit A in this regard.

* Which, by the way, is how one should read Leviticus. To interpret the book properly, we need to firstly draw the line of interpretation to Christ and ask “how does he fulfil this passage?” And then, having done that, we draw the line through Christ to ourselves. On this latter point we will pay particular attention to how the NT seems to apply the Levitical ideas to the New Testament Christian.

Partners In The Gospel (Aberdeen)

Calling all preachers!

John_Stevens_03-260x260Are you longing for soul-stirring teaching geared specifically to preachers?  Are you feeling the need to sharpen your own pulpit skills, but don’t want to read just another preaching book? Are you seeking the encouragement of fellow preachers who share the sacred task of delivering God’s Word to God’s people every week?

If you are, then we’re sure you will be blessed by ‘Partners in the Gospel’, an annual conference in North East Scotland, designed to encourage and enthuse preachers from all backgrounds and denominations in handling God’s Word with accuracy, relevance and passion.

The conference aims to mould and deepen convictions about the centrality of biblical preaching, and to promote faithful, authoritative preaching in Scotland. You can book here.

Conference 2016 – Wednesday 16th March

This is the theme of our conference this year – ‘Understanding the Times’.

Our keynote speaker is John Stevens, Director of the FIEC. John has a grasp of culture today like few others (you can follow his blogs on, and that, allied with his commitment to thoroughly biblical preaching, makes him the perfect guide for this crucial subject.


John Stevens

John was Educated at Cambridge University, where he became a Christian in his final year, John worked as a law lecturer for 16 years. In 2007 he combined his lecturing with his responsibilities as one of the three pastors of City Church in Birmingham, which he helped to found in 1999. He left City Church in January 2010 to work for the FIEC, and became its first full-time National Director in September 2010. Alongside his other ministries, John is co-chairman of the A Passion for Life steering group and sits on the Steering Committee for New Word Alive. He is also one of the elders of Christchurch Market Harborough. John is married to Ursula and they have four young children. He loves books.

Workshop / Seminar

We are delighted that our good friends Ian Shaw and Edward Lobb will be back to help with history and preaching seminars once again. So come and join us to be inspired, challenged and have great fellowship.


Ian Shaw

Ian is currently the Director of Langham Scholarship programme in the UK. He previously served as lecturer in church History at International Christian College, Glasgow. Prior to this, he was a pastor of an Independent Evangelical Church in an area of urban deprivation in Manchester. He completed a Ph.D in Church History at Manchester University.



Edward Lobb

Edward is the Director of Cornhill Training Crouse, Scotland. Based in Glasgow, Cornhill aims to train preachers to understand the Bible accurately, teach it effectively and apply it appropriately. Edward has been in full-time ministry since 1976 and has served a number of parishes, most recently St Peter’s Stapenhill at Burton-on-Trent.

All this, together with an opportunity for Questions and Answers, the chance to share lunch and encourage each other in our preaching, as well as a preacher-specific bookstall, and we are sure that there will be much in this day to inspire and bless your ministry. As ever, we welcome all those who teach the Word in a wide variety of contexts, from Sunday pulpit to small group Bible studies, so don’t hesitate to sign up, and spread the word to ministry colleagues.

Download This: ‘Preaching Like The Master’

stuart-olyottLast week, along with hundreds of other pastors from around the globe, I enjoyed the immense privilege of listening to the preaching of Stuart Olyott. Not only were the contents of his sermons an encouragement, but the manner of his preaching was an example to be emulated. Though it was not the purpose of the conference, I did wish that we could have heard from Stuart something of how he prepares to preach. There is so much, particularly for us younger men, to learn from those senior figures who are still preaching so incisively.

Since returning to Northern Ireland, I have dug out Stuart’s book Preaching Pure and Simple, which I read near the start of my ministry with profit. I have also since discovered some online material which you will find below. I have enjoyed listening through these lectures (originally given in Singapore) under the title “Preaching Like the Master.” It will do your preaching good to download this material.

PRE01 What preaching is 54:16
PRE02 Exegetical accuracy 56:24
PRE03 Doctrinal substance 55:13
PRE04 Clear structure 55:18
PRE05 Vivid illustration 58:30
PRE06 Pointed application 46:23
PRE07 Spiritual urgency 60:41
PRE08 Boring sermons


Preaching from the Gospels

Don Carson

In July 2014, Don Carson led a seminar on  “Preaching from John’s Gospel” at the Faith Mission in Edinburgh. It is well worth hearing –  not least his opening comments on how to preach from any Gospel, in which he highlights a tendency among preachers which is, in my experience of reviewing several hundred sermons over the past five years, all too common.

“Many of us preach from the Gospels looking for immediate application to the lives of our congregants…The Gospels are not given to us first and foremost as discipleship manuals…as introductions to the importance of faith.  They are certainly not given to us as the provision of psychological profiles in conversion. That’s the way many of us have been brought up to preach Peter walking on the water. We analyse what is going on in Peter’s mind as far as we can from the text and thus we jump to an application about how people get attracted to Christ, and then they take the first steps out there in the storm, and then they look around and see the waves, and are terrified. And so suddenly pericope after pericope in the Gospels becomes a kind of source for psychological analysis in the steps of conversion or something along those lines.

What we have to remember is that the Gospels are  first and foremost accounts of Jesus. Preaching from the Gospels means telling folks a lot about Jesus and the point of each pericope, each unit, is first of all something to do with Jesus – who he is, what he says, what’s he’s done, and then where it fits into the larger storyline which brings us to the cross and the resurrection. And not only about Jesus but Jesus as he comes to us in history and fills in the gap between Old Testament belief and New Testament dawning…

If we preach the Gospels in such a way that we forget their historical locatedness, and go immediately to application to us today, what we lose is the ability of the Gospels to explain how we got from the Old Testament to the New Testament, how we got from there to here.

This may be one reason for something else I have observed – that evangelicals tend to preach far more from the Epistles than the Gospels.  But in an age of increasing Biblical illiteracy we need to be regularly and systematically preaching through the Gospel accounts – of which we are blessed with four! Each of the four Gospels is written with a particular audience and purpose in mind and we need to think carefully which particular Gospel resonates most closely with our particular audience. “Why Four Gospels” by Donald Bridge (Christian Focus Publications, 1996)  is a brilliant and readable introduction to this subject.

The Don Carson seminar was hosted by “2 Timothy 4” and can be accessed (in 8 x 20 minute sections) on

Peter Grainger

Director, 2 Timothy 4 Trust

2tim4 logo