A generation or two ago, Thomas Murphy wrote:
It is taken for granted that the sermon in which there is much doctrine must necessarily be dry, unspiritual, full of sectarianism and almost necessarily incomprehensible…. In fact there can be no preaching without doctrine…. The attributes of God, the mysteries of the Trinity, the fall of our race, the incarnation, life, death, and ascension of Christ, salvation by his blood, faith, conversion, the Church, the resurrection, judgment, heaven and hell — what are all these but doctrines?
[from Pastoral Theology, quoted by Dr Joel Beeke in “How To Evaluate Your Sermons” in Puritan Reformed Journal, Vol. 3, No. 1 (Jan. 2011)
The Psalmist asks (and answers) this vital question: If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?
This Psalm refers to some unknown episode in the life of David, when such terrible things were taking place that is seemed that ‘the foundations’ of society were being destroyed. So, he cries out in grief in the third verse: ‘If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?’
Perhaps it was a time of national and moral shaking; when the institutions you were brought up to trust in, seemed to have been taken over by evil powers, seeking with all their might to uproot that which was holy, good, and true. Hebrews 12:26 and 27 speak of such times of dreadful shaking, in these words: ‘Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven . . . this word . . . signifies the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain.’
Six brief points will help us to open up this 11th Psalm…
(1) A time of shaking…
(2) David tells us to look to God…
(3) Why is God allowing such moral evil at the roots of the foundations?
(4) How do we know what is wicked and what is righteous?
(5) Our attitude to those struggling with sin, and to those who argue in favour of unchastity (i.e., against the clear teaching of Scripture on the matter)
(6) What must the righteous must do when the foundations are destroyed?
*read the whole here
The Banner of Truth posted this sermon by Dr. Douglas F. Kelly, Professor of Theology at Reformed Theological Seminary in Charlotte, preached in Holyrood Abbey Church of Scotland, Edinburgh, during evening worship, Sunday 29 May 2011.