The Principles and Practice of Intercession
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The Principles and Practice of Intercession

Genesis 18:16–33  (ID: 1085)

Grounded in grace, framed in purpose, and prompted and sustained by God, Abraham was committed to being an instrument for God’s glory. In Genesis 18, this meant interceding in prayer on behalf of Sodom. Looking to Abraham as an example, Alistair Begg calls us to the discipline of intercessory prayer. In light of God’s character, and by His grace, we must examine our relationship with Him so that we might exercise this critical ministry.

Series Containing This Sermon

Venturing in Faith

A Study on the Life of Abraham Genesis 11:1–22:24 Series ID: 22101

Sermon Transcript: Print

Our Scripture reading this morning is found in Genesis chapter 18. Genesis chapter 18, and we’ll read from verse 16:

“They looked down toward Sodom, and Abraham walked along with them to see them on their way. Then the Lord said, ‘Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do? Abraham will surely become a great and powerful nation, and all nations on earth will be blessed through him. For I have chosen him, so that he will direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing what is right and just, so that the Lord will bring about for Abraham what he has promised him.’

“Then the Lord said, ‘The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great and their sin so grievous that I will go down and see if what they have done is as bad as the outcry that has reached me. If not, I will know.’

“The men turned away and went toward Sodom, but Abraham remained standing before the Lord. Then Abraham approached him and said: ‘Will you sweep away the righteous with the wicked? What if there are fifty righteous people in the city? Will you really sweep it away and not spare the place for the sake of the fifty righteous people in it? Far be it from you to do such a thing—to kill the righteous with the wicked, treating the righteous and the wicked alike. Far be it from you! Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?’

“The Lord said, ‘If I find fifty righteous people in the city of Sodom, I will spare the whole place for their sake.’

“Then Abraham spoke up again: ‘Now that I have been so bold as to speak to the Lord, though I am nothing but dust and ashes, what if the number of the righteous is five less than fifty? Will you destroy the whole city because of five people?’

“‘If I find forty-five there,’ he said, ‘I will not destroy it.’

“Once again he spoke to him, ‘What if only forty are found there?’

“He said, ‘For the sake of forty, I will not do it.’

“Then he said, ‘May the Lord not be angry, but let me speak. What if only thirty can be found there?’

“He answered, ‘I will not do it if I find thirty there.’

“Abraham said, ‘Now that I have been so bold as to speak to the Lord, what if only twenty can be found there?’

“He said, ‘For the sake of twenty, I will not destroy it.’

“Then he said, ‘May the Lord not be angry, but let me speak just once more. What if only ten can be found there?’

“He answered, ‘For the sake of ten, I will not destroy it.’

“When the Lord had finished speaking with Abraham, he left, and Abraham returned home.”

Thanks be to God for his Word.

And now shall we bow for just a moment in prayer together?

Hear us, O Lord, as we come to the study of your Word this morning, seeking that the Holy Spirit will be our teacher, that we may be set free from every distracting influence, that our hearts may be ready and open to receive your truth, and that our lives may be quick to be changed on account of it. For Jesus’ sake we ask it. Amen.

The story is told of a young minister who, in his first pastorate in Philadelphia, was visited one evening by a group from his congregation. And when they came into his home, the spokesman for the group said this: “You are not a strong preacher. In the usual order of things, you will fail here. But a little group of us have decided to meet every Sunday morning to pray for God’s blessing upon you.” That little Sunday-morning group grew to one thousand people meeting in prayer. And it was that group and that prayer meeting which underpinned the ministry of J. Wilbur Chapman, who was one of the most outstanding preachers in relatively recent American history.

All of us this morning owe a greater debt than perhaps we realize to those who have prayed to God on our behalf. I think it was Sir Alfred, Lord Tennyson, who said originally—although many people have said it since—“More things are wrought by prayer than [ever] this world dreams of.”[1] And despite the fact that many of us this morning would say, “Yes, we agree with that,” and “Yes, the very fact of our being here is as a result of the faithfulness of people in prayer on our behalf,” how many of us are systematically, seriously, committedly involved in praying for others? Are there people who would notice a change in their lives if you or I stopped praying for them? Are there preachers who would be less effective in their ministry because you stopped your praying? Are there missionaries who would notice such a difference in their fellowship and evangelism because you or I stopped praying? In short, do my prayers affect anybody for God? Not “Do I say prayers?” but “Do my prayers affect anybody for God?”

When we take our Bibles and we look through them, we discover that the history of those whom God has chosen to use in a great way, both in biblical history and then in subsequent church history, you find in each of these lives a common thread. And that is that within these people, there was the firm conviction that Wesley spoke of when he said, “God [will do] nothing but in answer to prayer.”[2]

When we think of prayer—and we’re going to do that this morning, as you will have already deduced—there are a number of aspects involved in prayer. There is adoration, the worship of God. There is confession, the acknowledgment of our sin before God. There is petition, which is faith’s claim upon God for our personal needs. There is intercession, which is the ministry of a soul before God’s throne on behalf of other people. There is thanksgiving, which is the heart’s expression of joyfulness in God. Now, one of those five areas stands out to us as we come to the second half of Genesis 18, because here in Genesis 18, we discover Abraham involved in intercession. Indeed, we might regard these verses that we have just read as a lesson in intercession.

The very word itself is difficult for some of us. If we had been handed out sheets of paper and were asked to define intercession, we might be hard-pressed. We might get it mixed up with petition or with supplication or with some other words when we think of prayer. Intercession is really at the very heart of prayer. Intercession is really the hardest part of prayer. Intercession is where it really counts many times.

In all intercession, at least three persons must always be concerned. This is important for us to realize just in a practical way. That’s not true in petition, for in petition, only two people need to be involved: ourselves as we come before Almighty God in bringing before him our needs. In confession, the same may also be true; also in adoration and in thanksgiving. But in intercession, at least three persons must always be concerned. Here they are: the one who speaks, the one spoken to, and the one spoken for. And at least three things must always be presupposed for intercession to take place: first, the need on the part of the one spoken for, the power on the part of the one spoken to, and contact between both parties on the part of the one who speaks. Without those requisite factors, then whatever else may be happening, intercession is not taking place.

Now, you will notice that each of these factors is involved as you look at these verses before us. Because Abraham’s concern for Sodom does not begin in Genesis 18. As we’ve followed the study through, we’ve noted, back in chapter 14, the ends and the extent to which he went in order to save Sodom, and particularly the righteous part of it. Now, in Genesis 18:23, he asks a crucial question: Abraham approached God, and he said, “Will you sweep away the righteous with the wicked?” Is death just, as [Shakespeare] said, “to die,” to “go we know not where,”[3] irrespective of life, irrespective of our response to Christ? Or is death to be framed in biblical terms, so that as in life, so in death, God distinguishes between the righteous and the wicked?

And Abraham asks a very theological question: “Will you sweep away the righteous with the wicked?” And in his spirit, he senses that the answer to that is clearly that God won’t. And so he begins to plead with God for Sodom. And in particular, he begins to plead with God for the righteous part of Sodom. And the basis of his pleading is found in verse 25, in one of the most crucial questions in the Old Testament, where he asks this at the very end of the verse: “Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?” In other words, God will always do the right thing. So as Abraham is about to come before him in intercession and plead to God for these people, he comes in the assurance that God will do right.

And it is interesting as you notice the progression from the fifty people of whom he speaks in verse 24 right down to the ten of whom he speaks in 32. He is claiming, once again, the rightness of God’s acts. And eventually, as we read on on a later day, we discover that the city was destroyed, but the righteous—i.e., Lot and his family—were delivered. Why? Because the Judge of all the earth will do right. And on that day when we stand before him, he cannot do wrong, and he cannot make a mistake. And he will not make an exception. He will always do as he does: what is right. And if we misunderstand that, then many of our intercessions will be spurious and deceived.

If we’re going to learn, then, to pray for others, we need to learn these things. And to pray for others was at the very foundation of a man like Hudson Taylor’s ministry, who, as one of the themes of his life—and he had a few—was this: learning “to move man, through God, by prayer alone.”[4] Learning “to move man, through God, by prayer alone.” Most of us do so much talking because we don’t believe that, so much inveigling because we think it isn’t possible, so much politicking because we don’t believe that God can do in the heart of man what only God can do. So when we come to believe these things, then intercession will happen. And when intercession does not happen, then it is an indication of the extent to which we do not believe these things. For if you find a group of people who believe them implicitly, then the result must inevitably be prayer. If you find a people who do not believe in them, then the result will be programs and plans and human ingenuity, upon which God will never and has never built a lasting work for eternity.

These things are as crucial as any we face in our whole studies in the life of Abraham. So will you look at these principles now, four of them—simple, I trust; straightforward; something we can grasp, get our teeth into; and more than that, that the Word of God can get its grip into us. How may we be involved, then, in a ministry of intercession? Well, look at these principles.

Intercession Rests upon a Relationship with God

First of all, intercession rests upon a relationship with God.

Are you in a right relationship with God? Are you in the position, by his grace, to exercise a ministry of intercession?

It is of profound significance that the man who’s in the position to intercede in this chapter is the man Abraham, who is, first of all, in a right relationship with God. We discovered back in Genesis 15:6 that Abraham had believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness. We paid attention then to that which we remind ourselves of now: that there is only one way, the Bible says, for sinful men to obtain righteousness before God. And that simply means there is only one way for sinful men to be brought into a right standing before God, and that is in the same way as Abraham was. Jewish people to today, in their feasts, devout and sincere as they are, are involved in the minutia of law-keeping—lights that may be turned on or not turned on, details that can be entered into, other things that must be shunned. And in the midst of all of that devotion, they long for one thing: to be in a right standing before God. But they cannot be. God deemed it so.

And you must remember that Paul, who himself was as Jewish as any man who ever lived, was the one who wrote these words as he tried to share with those who would follow him the nature of what it means to be in a right standing before God. And this is what he said: “Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law, we become conscious of sin.” And then these glorious words: “But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known.” And then, for those who are immersed in their Judaistic tradition, he says, “to which the Law and the Prophets testify.” In other words, this isn’t something that has sprung from nowhere. “This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe.”[5] “This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe.”

Now, why do we begin here this morning? For this reason: that in your heart you may say, “I would like to enter into a prayer ministry on behalf of other people. I see that there are those who are in need.” That’s one party. “I see that there is a God who is all-powerful.” That is the other party. But, you remember, the third requisite is that there then is the middle party who has contact with both—in other words, who is in a right relationship with God and who can then be set free to intercede for others. So, we may be aware of the need out there, but if we are not clothed with the power from here, we cannot be intercessors.

So I need to ask you this morning, as the Bible does: Are you in a right relationship with God? Are you in the position, by his grace, to exercise this kind ministry? For it was by grace that Abraham found himself so. You’ll notice in Genesis 18:19, the word of God is “I have chosen him.” God took the initiative in Abraham’s life. It was a relationship grounded in grace. It was a relationship framed with purpose. “For I have chosen him”—now, notice the next four words—“so that he will…” And Abraham was committed to being an instrument for God’s glory, and that’s why he was involved in intercession for Sodom.

You find the same thing, as we think of it, going into the New Testament. You remember what Jesus says in John 15? He says, “You have not chosen me, but I have chosen you”—Why?—“and ordained you to go and bring forth fruit—fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.”[6] You find the exact same thing when Paul writes to the Ephesian church. And in that glorious opening chapter of his letter, he reminds them of the wonder of what God has done in Christ. And this is what he says: “For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight”[7]—so that God’s plan for Abraham and God’s purpose as he unfolded it to Abraham was because he had a right relationship with him. Can I ask you again: Are you in a right relationship with God?

And Abraham’s relationship was maintained by his obedience: “For I have chosen him, so that he will direct his children … to keep the way of the Lord by doing what is right and just.” So you’ll know if you have a relationship with God this morning. You’ll know this: one, it is grounded in his grace; two, it is guided by his purpose; three, it is maintained by his goodness as he prompts me to obedience. “You are my friends,” said Jesus, “if you do what I command you.”[8] And that’s why assurance in our Christian lives and disobedience never go hand in hand. When we are involving ourselves in things that are contrary to God’s purposes; when we are messing around with relationships that are impure, that are not right; when we are filling our minds with that which is trash and does not fit the requisites of “whatever is pure and holy and just,”[9] in our hearts there comes that questioning time. And so it should! For disobedience and assurance never go hand in hand. For he called us and equips us to direct and to keep and to obey.

Intercession Is Based upon God’s Willingness to Be Approached

Now, moving on from there, if intercession is resting upon a relationship with God, it stands to reason we need to know that relationship. Secondly, though, we discover that intercession is based upon God’s willingness to be approached.

In some mysterious way beyond our understanding, God requires intercessory prayer as a necessary wheel in the machinery of his providence. He commits to his people the responsibility of moving this wheel. Now, many of you, as you’ve thought through your Christian experience and have wondered about prayer, have wrestled with these questions: “Does it make a difference if I pray? Should I pray? What is prayer? Do I just sit around and feel good, or what are we doing when we pray?” The answer the Scriptures give unequivocally is that God has pledged that it should be so that our interceding prayers make a difference and that, in some way that will only be explained in eternity’s perspective, we move something of that machinery of his providence as we come before him with the needs of others.

One illustration—and analogies are so unhelpful in many ways, ’cause they only work at one or two points. But if you think in terms of a safety deposit box in a bank, I believe that a bank keeps a key, and then the person who has the deposit box keeps another key. And no one key can open the box. But if you go into the bank taking your key and give your key to the banker’s key, then, using both of those keys, the box may be opened, and the treasure may be unfolded. So heaven holds the key by which decisions governing earthly affairs are made, but we hold the key by which these decisions are implemented, so that we need to be coming and using our key in the sure awareness that God in heaven is opening the opportunities for response.

Now, once again, when you see this, that God wants to be approached… You say, “Well, where do you get that from?” Just from the text. Notice again that God takes the initiative in bringing about Abraham’s intercession. In verse 17, the Lord speaks to himself, and he says, “Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do?” Then, clearly, he says, “No, I won’t, because of what Abraham is going to become.” And so he tells Abraham what he is about to do. He needn’t have done so if he didn’t want to encourage Abraham to intercede on behalf of Sodom.

And there is a principle here: God shares his thoughts with men who are his friends. So you meet somebody who knows God, and God knows them, and they may take you far into the purposes of God as you walk with them, because God shares his thoughts with those who are his friends. And by his very activity here, Abraham was proved to be God’s friend by his own criterion—that is, by God’s criterion. You remember, again, in John 15, Jesus said, “No longer do I call you servants, but I call you friends.” And what was the distinction that he made? “Because the servant does not know what his master is doing.”[10] But the friend does. Because the friend shares the secrets of the relationship.

And so, what we discover in these verses is that the Lord is responsible for stirring up Abraham to intercede on behalf of Sodom and Gomorrah. How does the Lord stir us up to intercede? A very good question, in light of the fact that some of us would be painfully aware of our own lack of intercession. In the exact same way that he stirred up Abraham! He stirred up Abraham by the truth of what was about to be, and he stirs us up to intercession by the truth of what is also about to be.

Let’s start right in the passage. Verse 25: “Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?” In other words, God is merciful, but he is also Judge. We take that fact, we read on in our Bibles, we come to Matthew chapter 7, and as we read in there, we read these words: “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”[11] Now, here’s the question: Do we really believe that? As I showered this morning, I said, “Do I believe Matthew 7:13–14? Do I believe that my neighbors in this street are on a broad road that leads to destruction? Or is this rhetoric? Biblical jargon?” And if I believe it, then if that truth does not stir me to intercession, something is wrong with me spiritually. And there is no way out of that logic. Do I believe that Christ will return as he said he will? Or is that also just some kind of spiritual fairy story? Do I believe that what he said will be true: that on that day, he will place the sheep on the one side and the goats on the other?[12] Do I believe what he said: that it will be a day that is sudden, therefore will come without warning?[13] And many of the people that we’re just about to intercede for, many of the people that we’re just about to invite to the evening worship service that they may encounter something of the good news of Christ, they will never be invited! Intercession must, then, be stirred within our hearts by the truth of God’s Word.

And you’ll notice in verse 22 that we read, “The men turned away and went toward Sodom,” but not Abraham. You see, this is the difference between the one and the many. Abraham remained before the Lord. Abraham approached him. And when we read the following verses, it may appear that he’s haggling over numbers. He’s not haggling over numbers. He’s exploring his relationship with God. He’s discovering the willingness of God’s mercy—both God’s willingness to be approached and his desire to respond. Prayer, you see, is not overcoming some reluctance in God. Prayer is not forcing God to do something that he doesn’t want to do. Prayer is implementing God’s decisions. Prayer is enforcing his will on the earth. And I look at these verses, and I ask myself the question: “Do you stand before the Lord? How long has it been since you remained before him? How long has it been since you approached him?”

I remember a song that used to play on our stereo, and it was one of what I called the “Sunday afternoon sleepers.” My father had a whole dreadful array of them that went on on Sunday afternoons. He never, ever heard any of them apart from about the first two tracks. Then he snored soundly on the couch. And we often switched them off, and he never knew. The trick was switching them back on again before he woke up. But anyway, he used to have Jim Reeves records in amongst them. And I don’t say this in any detriment to the singer or the song. In fact, this song was very telling for me, even as a youngster. And in a verse, it went like this:

How long has it been since you talked with the Lord,
[Since you] told him your heart’s hidden secrets?
How long since you prayed?
How long since you stayed on your knees till the light shone through? …

Can you call him your friend?[14]

How long has it been for many of us since we really got to grips with prayer?

Intercession Must Be Made in the Light of God’s Character

Third principle—and these final two are much briefer than the opening two. Intercession, first, rests upon a relationship with God; is based, secondly, upon God’s willingness to be approached; and, thirdly, must be made in the light of God’s character.

God’s mercy is his love as it encounters specific human sin. In mercy, he pardons people’s transgressions.

And this incident emphasizes a number of aspects of God’s character. First of all, his holiness, as verse 20 makes clear. Sin—the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah—was “grievous” to God. Sin is always a grave matter to God. And God is not true to himself unless he punishes sin. So in Abraham’s intercession, he doesn’t minimize the fact, nor does he try to contradict it, but he prays in line with it. And he sees himself, interestingly enough, in light of God’s holiness. He sees himself, in verse 27, as “nothing but dust and ashes.” And when we see God as he truly is, then we see ourselves as we truly are, and we begin to look at things in the light of his holiness.

So our intercession is on the basis of the fact that he is Father, but it is also based on the fact that we must come before him with reverence and with godly fear. And we might ask ourselves of our worship services: What dimension of reverence and of godly fear marks our activities as we come together and would strike a visitor as they came before us and they discover that we know God? The thing about this is that because God is holy, we can never ask God to bless, to prosper, or to help anything which is contrary to his holy nature. So there’s no reason for us to come in prayer before God on certain things that we know to be wrong, because God will not answer. He cannot answer except to answer no.

Also, his justice is revealed. God’s justice is his holy will in operation. The answer to verse 25 is never in any doubt: “Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?” Yes, of course he will. First Peter 2:23 describes the Lord Jesus in the abuse he received at the time of his crucifixion, and it says that “when he was reviled,” he “reviled not again,” but he “committed” his cause “to him who judgeth [justly].”[15] And so may we.

And also in these verses, we see not only his holiness and his justice, but we see his mercy. And God’s mercy is his love as it encounters specific human sin. In mercy, he pardons people’s transgressions. And you see that again and again and again as he comes down and down and down. And eventually, God, as we look at it in the Bible, comes to the very one in mercy. That’s why we should pray! That’s why we should pray for Cleveland. That’s why we should pray for our world: because God is holy, because he is just, because he merciful. Do you believe that what Abraham did here had an effect on what happened to Sodom and Gomorrah? It’s a lesson in intercession.

Intercession Requires Persistence and Organization

And finally, if intercession would be real, it requires persistence, and it requires organization. I forget, it was somebody who said, “Nobody ever led a holy life by chance.” Nobody ever just finally found themselves living a holy life. And nobody ever got involved in a ministry of intercession—just slipped into it. And you see, this morning, to the unspiritual mind, intercession is not practical. The unspiritual mind will say, “You are not speaking practically when you speak in these terms. We need to be so practical about things”—and, of course, we do. But I like the practice such as was defined by S. D. Gordon, who said, “You can do more than pray, after you[’ve] prayed. But you can not do more than pray until you have prayed.”[16] And in that distinction lies the difference between a rising and a falling church. In that distinction lies the difference between glory of God and the shame of man. You look at Moses’s life, Abraham, Elijah, Ezra, Nehemiah, Daniel, and ask: How much did Israel owe to the prayers of these men?

So, here, let’s finalize it. What of us this morning? Are we in the school of prayer? Oh, I know your timetables, and I know your schedules, and I know that I only work one day a week, and so I can manage along to these prayer meetings. But some of you have never made a prayer meeting yet. Some of you have set other interests over against prayer. I want to tell you that prayer matters more than Bible study, that prayer matters more than fellowship—that when we pray, we fellowship. When we pray, we get to know God. And when we don’t pray, we don’t. Someone wrote these words: “The intercessor must get into the watch-tower, and look out, through cleansed eyes, upon the whole earth; and as he looks he will remember that it is Christ’s world and not the devil’s.”[17]

I think the program is called Quincy. I’m not sure. But it’s kind of macabre. He keeps going into this room and uncovering things that we’re never allowed to see. It’s always a dead body. And in the explorations that this man does, he is able to come out and astound everybody by telling them what this person did when he was alive, or what she did when she was alive. And of course, doctors possess that ability. They can look at certain physical characteristics and deduce from that that because of this characteristic, this person must have been an athlete, or he must have been, perhaps, a singer, with his great, enlarged lung capacity, or various other deductions.

I had a thought this week. I thought that if I were to die (and I will), and there was one of those things done on me with the green thing, you know, and they looked now not for things that would betoken physical characteristics, but they looked for spiritual things, would they find an enlarged heart that had grown large because it poured itself out in prayer for those who didn’t know Christ? Would they find hands that had grown large in reaching up to God in intercession and bringing down, as it were, from heaven his manifold blessings upon those who do not know him? Would they find, as they looked into my eyes, eyes that were keen and that were clear, that were filled with a vision—a vision of what God can do? And as they looked at my knees, would they discover any calluses? And with that heart and hands and eyes and knees, wrote on the report, “This man must surely have been an intercessor”?

I give you, my dear friends today, the invitation of God’s Word to my own life. I give you an invitation to intercession, that in our generation and in our day, we may see the strongholds of the Evil One torn down and such glory to Almighty God that may be only explained not by human personality, not by slick programs, but by a company of people who knew that you can do more after you’ve prayed but nothing until you’ve prayed.

One little practical coda: How about we form ourselves in praying triplets? Meet with two other men or two other girls. Find them amongst your friends, amongst your acquaintances. Let’s establish little triplets. We don’t even need to tell each other about them. Let’s go into the closet and close the door and do it. And let’s learn what it means to intercede. And you know what? We won’t even believe what God is going to do, because eye hasn’t seen, neither has ear heard, neither has it entered into the hearts of man, the things that God has prepared for them that love him.[18] And when we love him, we’ll stay close to him.

Shall we pray together?

Dear loving Lord, our God, down through the years we see Abraham, a man just as we are men, frail, ingenious, defeated by his smart ideas, strengthened by faith. We know that as he looked to God, there was a great burden in his heart for his nephew and for the family. And he kept on asking, persisting. Oh God, we pray that you will teach us just even the beginnings of what it means to be like this—that you will raise up from amongst us those who may help us in the realm of intercession, that we may strengthen one another. And, God, grant that when we come together on every occasion to pray, whether it be in small or in larger groups, that we may lay hold upon your “great and precious promises,”[19] for we know that you, the Judge of all the earth, will do right. Lord Jesus, teach us to pray, even as you taught your disciples to pray.

And may the grace and mercy and peace from Father, Son, and Holy Spirit be our abiding portion, today and forevermore.

[1] Alfred Tennyson, “The Passing of Arthur,” in Idylls of the King (1859–85).

[2] John Wesley, A Plain Account of Christian Perfection (1777), §25.

[3] William Shakespeare, Measure for Measure, 3.1.

[4] J. Hudson Taylor, A Retrospect (1894), chap. 3.

[5] Romans 3:20–22 (NIV 1984).

[6] John 15:16 (paraphrased).

[7] Ephesians 1:4 (NIV 1984).

[8] John 15:14 (NIV 1984).

[9] Philippians 4:8 (paraphrased).

[10] John 15:15 (paraphrased).

[11] Matthew 7:13–14 (NIV 1984).

[12] See Matthew 25:32–33.

[13] See Matthew 24:44; Luke 12:40; Revelation 16:15.

[14] Mosie Lister, “How Long Has It Been?” (1956).

[15] 1 Peter 2:23 (KJV).

[16] S. D. Gordon, Quiet Talks on Prayer (New York: Fleming H. Revell, 1904), 16.

[17] W. Graham Scroggie, Method in Prayer: An Exposition and Exhortation (New York: George H. Doran, 1916), 106.

[18] See 1 Corinthians 2:9.

[19] 2 Peter 1:4 (NIV 1984).

Copyright © 2024, Alistair Begg. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations for sermons preached on or after November 6, 2011 are taken from The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

For sermons preached before November 6, 2011, unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from The Holy Bible, New International Version® (NIV®), copyright © 1973 1978 1984 by Biblica, Inc.TM Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Alistair Begg
Alistair Begg is Senior Pastor at Parkside Church in Cleveland, Ohio, and the Bible teacher on Truth For Life, which is heard on the radio and online around the world.