No doubt you have your preaching well in hand for the Easter season. If not, here are some suggestions you might consider, even at this late date. Easter is April 20, which means that a Lenten series could begin as early as March 2, if you want seven messages before Palm Sunday; or on March 9, if you want to include Palm Sunday in the series.
For that matter, there is no magic in the number seven! Perhaps this year you may want to present a brief series. Also, keep in mind that a special Sunday evening series during Lent is a good way to strengthen the evening service and perhaps attract some new worshipers. However, give your best to the morning messages and neither you nor your people will be disappointed.
The central theme of the cross is, course, the atonement; but many things were accomplished by our Lord at Calvary. The best general survey of the theme is by Leon Morris, The Cross in the New Testament, published by Eerdmans. You might select six or seven key writers and do a series on “John Looks at the Cross,” or “Peter Looks at the Cross,” and so on. As you read Dr. Morris’s book, you will probably think up a number of approaches to this magnificent theme.
Two other books that may help are The Cross Through the Scriptures and The Cross of Christ, The Throne of God, both by F. J. Huegel, and both published by Bethany Fellowship.
F. E. Marsh’s Why Did Christ Die?, published by Kregel, bears mentioning. You don’t want to preach Marsh’s material, but you will find in this book excellent ideas for individual messages as well as for series.
Have you considered preaching on the cross as seen in the Book of the Revelation? The emphasis in the book is on the Lamb! In fact, the theme of “the Lamb” is a wonderful one for a series of Lenten messages. Be sure to consult The Master Theme of the Bible by J. Sidlow Baxter (Tyndale).
Fleming Revell published Trials, Tragedies and Triumphs, by R. Earl Allen, a collection of 21 messages about the cross: “Seven Words Before the Cross,” “Seven Words From the Cross,” and “Seven Words After the Cross.” Read these sermons as a needy sinner and you will surely become a better preacher! You will also glean some excellent ideas for messages.
Faces About the Cross by Clovis G. Chappell (Baker) centers on the many interesting personalities found in the passion narrative. Biographical messages usually arouse interest and the passion narrative has its share of fascinating characters.
The blood of Christ is always a magnificent theme and it touches so many areas of doctrine and practical Christian living. The Blood of the Cross, by Andrew Murray, has long been a classic; and a newer title, by Robert E. Coleman, is Written In Blood. It is published by Revell.
If you have Charles Spurgeon’s sermons, check the indexes and find his messages on the cross. They are rich! The Passion and Death of Christ is a collection of 12 of his best messages. It is part of the Spurgeon series reprinted by Baker.
The important thing is that we prepare our own hearts and experience in a new way the deeper meaning of the cross of Jesus Christ. This is not a time to be academic or clever. It is a time for worship and deeper surrender to the Lord. These weeks are also filled with opportunities for evangelism, and we must not waste them.
If you want a book just for your own personal Lenten reading, The Day of the Cross by William Glow is one of the best. These 26 sermons deal with the people and events of the Lord’s passion and are filled with penetrating insights.
©WWW Previously published in Prokope January-February 1987.
Dr. Warren Wiersbe (1929-2019) was an internationally known Bible teacher, author, and conference speaker. He graduated in 1953 from Northern Baptist Theological Seminary in Lombard, Illinois. While attending seminary, he was ordained as pastor of Central Baptist Church in 1951 and served until 1957. From September 1957 to 1961, Wiersbe served as Director of The Literature Division for Youth for Christ International. From 1961 to 1971 he pastored Calvary Baptist Church of Covington, Kentucky south of Cincinnati, Ohio. His sermons were broadcast as the “Calvary Hour” on a local Cincinnati radio station. From 1971 to 1978, He served as the pastor of Moody Church in Chicago 1971 to 1978. While at Moody Church he continued in radio ministry. Between August 1979 and March 1982, he wrote bi-weekly for Christianity Today as “Eutychus X”, taught practical theology classes at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois, and wrote the course material and taught a Doctor of Ministry course at Trinity and Dallas Seminary. In 1980 he transitioned to Back to the Bible radio broadcasting network where he worked until 1990. Dr. Wiersbe became Writer in Residence at Cornerstone University in Grand Rapids and Distinguished Professor of Preaching at Grand Rapids Theological Seminary. In his lifetime, Dr. Wiersbe wrote over 170 books—including the popular Be series, which has sold over four million copies. Dr. Wiersbe was awarded the Gold Medallion Lifetime Achievement by the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association (ECPA).