History's Greatest Sermons

Most people serious about their faith are familiar with some of the great theologians of the past. It’s not uncommon to hear a quote by Charles Spurgeon dropped in a sermon. Or maybe you’ve seen a quote go by on your social media of Jonathan Edwards or Martin Luther. These men continue to inspire us and their books continue to be read by those seeking insights into their faith.

But one thing we often forget is that before they were famous theologians they were preachers. And to their congregants they were often tender-hearted pastors who preached a passionate and accessible Gospel. How to live out the theology that they expressed in their books is found in their sermons. For it was there that their thoughts met real world-application.

Today it is not uncommon for Christians to listen to sermons from preachers all over the country. Sermons by pastors that have made names for themselves such as John Piper, Francis Chan, or John MacArthur. Before the age of podcasting and live streaming preachers could be heard on the radio. Famous names like Leonard Ravenhill and Billy Sunday could be tuned into on the dial. But these radio evangelists replaced the original way of finding out what was preached: reading the sermon.

We have sermons going all the way back to the doorstep of the Apostles (with 2 Clement possibly preached within just a few years of John the Apostle’s death) and all the way up to the mid-1900’s that were written down. Yet all these sermons, filled with magnificent truth have been forgotten. Left on bookshelves to collect dust. And with them the stories of the amazing preachers that brought us these sermons.

When I was a teacher at a Christian school I asked the middle school students to name any famous Christians they could think of. They named “Martin Luther King,” “Malcolm X,” “Mother Theresa,” and “Ghandi.” Now, besides the fact that half of that list is not even Christian, it shows a complete lack of awareness of Christian history. Of course I may have had a bad survey sample. But I think it is also true that most Christians in the West hardly know how they got here. They may have a distorted memory from High School about a Reformation and Martin Luther nailing theses. They may know of some Puritan names, but they usually have very little understanding of the lives of each of these men and how many of them interacted with each other. What were they up against? How was their family life? What great historical events did they experience and how did that change their perspectives?

We are missing incredible testimonies and assurances of our faith! Thomas Watson, Richard Baxter, John Bunyan, Andrew Gray, and so many other Puritans spent time in prison for their faith. They were told not to gather, yet they did it in secret and in barns in the woods. They show us a church that can grow and flourish despite cruel persecution and that can still be well-read through it all.

John Wycliffe lived through the Black Death. When he watched 60% of his village, people who looked healthy but were the sickest they’d ever been a day later, drop dead he turned to God’s Word. When Hudson Taylor arrived in Shanghai during the start of the Taiping Rebellion, the fourth bloodiest event in human history, and saw the city on fire he stayed and created one of the biggest missionary organizations in Christian history.

These men were more than just scholars. They were people with lives that shine the glory of God. And even with their flaws we see the amazing glory of God using broken individuals to accomplish incredible purposes. 

And these men were pastors. They preached and loved their congregations and labored week after week on sermons. Sermons that we have put aside.

But technology is catching back up! Their biographies and the best research on who these men were is now readily available. On the internet libraries have placed all their old catalogues up again, including books with these old sermons. And speakers from around the world can record these sermons and send them out to be published alongside the biographies of these speakers.

And you can download all of these with the simple click of a button. Technology, the very thing that buried these incredible preachers of the past, is now bringing them back. Revived Thoughts is a podcast that exists to bring history’s greatest sermons back to life! Each Thursday we publish a new sermon by a different preacher and we also give you their back-story. We’ve done over 60 sermons by men ranging all across history. And not just those that you’ve heard of, but probably some that you’re unfamiliar with. We hope these sermons will all encourage you in your walk with God.

You can find these sermons on our site here or on any podcast player.