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Archive for the ‘Preaching’ Category

Here’s an insightful and disturbing article.

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1 Thess 2:1-8 1 For you yourselves know, brothers, that our coming to you was not in vain. 2 But though we had already suffered and been shamefully treated at Philippi, as you know, we had boldness in our God to declare to you the gospel of God in the midst of much conflict. 3 For our appeal does not spring from error or impurity or any attempt to deceive, 4 but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts. 5 For we never came with words of flattery, as you know, nor with a pretext for greed—God is witness. 6 Nor did we seek glory from people, whether from you or from others, though we could have made demands as apostles of Christ. 7 But we were gentle among you, like a nursing mother taking care of her own children. 8 So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us.

How can you declare the gospel and it not be in vain?

1. Declare the gospel with boldness, even if it will be opposed. (v2)

2. Declare the gospel accurately. (v3)

3. Declare the gospel without adding to it or taking away from it so as to add impurities to it. (v3)

4. Declare it honestly, with no attempt to deceive. (v3)

5. Declare it as a steward entrusted with a precious treasure. (v4)

6. Declare it so as to please the One who entrusted it to you, not those who will hear it. (v4)

7. Declare it so as not to flatter men (which would please them – see #6). (v5)

8. Declare it not for financial gain. (v5)

9. Declare it not for the praises of men. (v6)

10. Declare it plainly, boldly, but gently and lovingly. (vv7-8)

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Jonah and the fish by Gustave Dore

Jonah and the fish by Gustave Dore

From my sermon yesterday on Jonah:

Upon the casting of these lots, finally the finger has been pointed at Jonah; finally the moment of truth has come; finally the time has come to repent and cry out to God, to say you’re sorry, to ask for forgiveness, to say to God, “OK, you win. Please forgive me. I will go. I will go to Nineveh.” But no. Jonah looks at the men and tells them to throw him overboard, as if to say, “I would rather die than do God’s will.” [Is that possible? Can men be so sinful? Can they? Would they? How many people have you seen destroy themselves for another lover, or another drink, or another look, or another paycheck, or another whatever, always knowing that it is killing them slowly or even quickly? How many people have you seen who would rather die a faithful wife so that she might rise a faithless lover? How many men have you known who yesterday earned an honest paycheck but tomorrow made a deal with the devil to earn more? How many people will today not heed Jesus’ words: “What does it profit a man to gain the whole world but lose his soul?” Friend, every sin we all willingly commit is spiritual suicide. It’s never reasonable to sin. It’s insanity. Why do you think the prodigal son had to “come to his senses?” Would men rather die than do God’s will? You betcha Romans 6:23 they would: “For the wages of sin is death.” And we’ve all paid them.

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Here’s an article from Al Mohler on preaching. Beloved, pray for your church and for your pastor and for the preaching of the Word.

Expository Preaching—The Antidote to Anemic Worship

MONDAY • August 19, 2013

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Evangelical Christians have been especially attentive to worship in recent years, sparking a renaissance of thought and conversation on what worship really is and how it should be done. Even if this renewed interest has unfortunately resulted in what some have called the “worship wars” in some churches, it seems that what A. W. Tozer once called the “missing jewel” of evangelical worship is being recovered.

Nevertheless, if most evangelicals would quickly agree that worship is central to the life of the church, there would be no consensus to an unavoidable question: What is central to Christian worship? Historically, the more liturgical churches have argued that the sacraments form the heart of Christian worship. These churches argue that the elements of the Lord’s Supper and the water of baptism most powerfully present the gospel. Among evangelicals, some call for evangelism as the heart of worship, planning every facet of the service—songs, prayers, the sermon—with the evangelistic invitation in mind.

Though most evangelicals mention the preaching of the word as a necessary or customary part of worship, the prevailing model of worship in evangelical churches is increasingly defined by music, along with innovations such as drama and video presentations. When preaching the word retreats, a host of entertaining innovations will take its place.

Traditional norms of worship are now subordinated to a demand for relevance and creativity. A media-driven culture of images has replaced the word-centered culture that gave birth to the Reformation churches. In some sense, the image-driven culture of modern evangelicalism is an embrace of the very practices rejected by the Reformers in their quest for true biblical worship.

Music fills the space of most evangelical worship, and much of this music comes in the form of contemporary choruses marked by precious little theological content. Beyond the popularity of the chorus as a musical form, many evangelical churches seem intensely concerned to replicate studio-quality musical presentations.

In terms of musical style, the more traditional churches feature large choirs—often with orchestras—and may even sing the established hymns of the faith. Choral contributions are often massive in scale and professional in quality. In any event, music fills the space and drives the energy of the worship service. Intense planning, financial investment, and priority of preparation are focused on the musical dimensions of worship. Professional staff and an army of volunteers spend much of the week in rehearsals and practice sessions.

All this is not lost on the congregation. Some Christians shop for churches that offer the worship style and experience that fits their expectation. In most communities, churches are known for their worship styles and musical programs. Those dissatisfied with what they find at one church can quickly move to another, sometimes using the language of self-expression to explain that the new church “meets our needs” or “allows us to worship.”

A concern for true biblical worship was at the very heart of the Reformation. But even Martin Luther, who wrote hymns and required his preachers to be trained in song, would not recognize this modern preoccupation with music as legitimate or healthy. Why? Because the Reformers were convinced that the heart of true biblical worship was the preaching of the word of God.

Thanks be to God, evangelism does take place in Christian worship. Confronted by the presentation of the gospel and the preaching of the word, sinners are drawn to faith in Jesus Christ and the offer of salvation is presented to all. Likewise, the Lord’s Supper and baptism are honored as ordinances by the Lord’s own command, and each finds its place in true worship.

Furthermore, music is one of God’s most precious gifts to his people, and it is a language by which we may worship God in spirit and in truth. The hymns of the faith convey rich confessional and theological content, and many modern choruses recover a sense of doxology formerly lost in many evangelical churches. But music is not the central act of Christian worship, and neither is evangelism nor even the ordinances. The heart of Christian worship is the authentic preaching of the word of God.

Expository preaching is central, irreducible, and nonnegotiable to the Bible’s mission of authentic worship that pleases God. John Stott’s simple declaration states the issue boldly: “Preaching is indispensable to Christianity.” More specifically, preaching is indispensable to Christian worship—and not only indispensable, but central.

The centrality of preaching is the theme of both testaments of Scripture. In Nehemiah 8 we find the people demanding that Ezra the scribe bring the book of the law to the assembly. Ezra and his colleagues stand on a raised platform and read from the book. When he opens the book to read, the assembly rises to its feet in honor of the word of God and respond, “Amen, Amen!”

Interestingly, the text explains that Ezra and those assisting him “read from the book, from the law of God, translating to give the sense so that they understood the reading” (Neh 8:8). This remarkable text presents a portrait of expository preaching. Once the text was read, it was carefully explained to the congregation. Ezra did not stage an event or orchestrate a spectacle—he simply and carefully proclaimed the word of God.

This text is a sobering indictment of much contemporary Christianity. According to the text, a demand for biblical preaching erupted within the hearts of the people. They gathered as a congregation and summoned the preacher. This reflects an intense hunger and thirst for the preaching of the word of God. Where is this desire evident among today’s evangelicals?

In far too many churches, the Bible is nearly silent. The public reading of Scripture has been dropped from many services, and the sermon has been sidelined, reduced to a brief devotional appended to the music. Many preachers accept this as a necessary concession to the age of entertainment. Some hope to put in a brief message of encouragement or exhortation before the conclusion of the service.

As Michael Green so pointedly put it: “This is the age of the sermonette, and sermonettes make Christianettes.”

The anemia of evangelical worship—all the music and energy aside—is directly attributable to the absence of genuine expository preaching. Such preaching would confront the congregation with nothing less than the living and active word of God. That confrontation will shape the congregation as the Holy Spirit accompanies the word, opens eyes, and applies that word to human hearts.

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Unknown

Yeah, I know. Most of the people who read this blog will not buy and read this book. But let me make a plea for you to do so, with one or two caveats. First, if you don’t hold a conservative and evangelical view of Scripture, a high view of the Bible, this is not the book you need to read. Second … But if you do hold to an inerrant and authoritative view of the Bible and you do attend a church where the preacher holds to that view, then this will be a profitable read for you. I found this to be one of the best little books that I have read in a long time on the subject of preaching. Indeed, as I read this book it left me with the feeling: “I can’t wait to preach my next sermon.” It only has three chapters but in those three chapters the author inundates the text with a thorough examination of the book of Deuteronomy, making his case for the priority of preaching. And boy does he make the case. The first chapter is on the authority of preaching. Here’s a quote: “Deuteronomy is the mandate for the people of God to assemble under the preached word of God, or to be more accurate, the written word preached.”

Ash posits, and I think compellingly, using the text of Scripture, that the way God governs and sustains his people is through the written word of God preached by the man of God filled. You’ll just have to read the book to see this.

The second chapter is on preaching that transforms the church and again he uses the book of Deuteronomy. Obviously the point is that the written word preached changes God’s people. Thus the preacher should preach with clarity, urgency, and passion.

The final chapter is preaching that mends a broken world. Loved it! He wrote: “Let me put my thesis on the table. When you or I stand to preach in a local church we see before us the seeds of reassembly for a broken world” (77). Ash shows how God’s plan has always been to gather (or assemble) a people for himself. And guess how he does it? The preached word or gospel. Here’s an extended quote:

“Nothing so humbles pride as the word of his grace, which makes us debtors to mercy alone. We enter the church with nothing in our hands, but simply clinging to the cross. Only the word of his grace will do that in us, by the power and mercy of God. Supremely that is done by the public proclamation of that word in preaching. What the preaching of grace does is to gather a people who join their assembly humbled under grace. Our identity is defined not by our achievement but by redemption, not by what we have done, but by what has been done for us, just as Israel was defined as those who were slaves in Egypt and had been redeemed with a strong hand and a mighty arm.” (97)

Amen! Just really good stuff. If you are a preacher, read this. If you want to love the preached word more, pray more passionately and intelligently for the preached word, read this. I highly tout this book.

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This might be helpful.

 

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Here’s one reason:

We discipline someone because we believe with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength that God is a greater treasure than sin. Now if you don’t believe that then you will not have any place for this.

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