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The Common Problem Of The Children Of Both Covenants (via Jeffrey Arthurs)

A helpful observation that provides and insight when approaching Old Testament texts in order to teach them to disciples of Jesus.

The children of the covenants, both old and new, tend to forget.

Jeffrey D Arthurs, Preaching As Reminding, IVP, 2017, pg 30.

They’re good questions to ask of the text: “What were the people forgetting about God and his covenant love”” or “What were the people remembering about God and his covenant love?” which leads us to ask “What does the text remind us about God and his covenant love that we forget?” and “What does this text want us to remember about God and his covenant love?”
The same questions can particularly be asked of the didactic texts of the New Testament, though it is helpful in all situations.


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The Believer’s Hope Rests In The Saviour’s Memory (via Jeffrey Arthurs)

Jeffrey Arthur grounds preaching as proclamation about the memory of the God who remembers his people and forgets their sins, because those people are inclined to forget about the grace of God and focus on their sin.

As practical theology, preaching as reminding is built on theology proper — the character and actions of God. Because he remembers his covenant and forgets the sins of his children, promising never to leave or forsake them, ministers take their stance as the Lord’s remembrancers, reminding the baptized that nothing shall separate them from the love of God in Christ Jesus. But preaching as reminding is built on a second foundation also, one related to human nature: we are prone to forget.

Jeffrey D Arthurs, Preaching As Reminding, IVP, 2017, pg 25.


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God Must Make A Way (via Bryan Chapell)

This is part of a podcast featuring Bryan Chapell, preacher and teacher of preachers.
In this question he’s asked about Jesus and preaching from Old Testament texts.
His answer, of course, is applicable to the whole Bible, and how preachers apply the texts from which they’re preaching.

Question:
And you have decades of experience preaching, and teaching others how to preach, so as you look at conservative evangelicalism — our neck of the woods — what would you say is the greater danger: is it that we would fall too far on the side of seeing Christ under every rock, so to speak; or is it that we don’t make the connection to Christ sufficiently when we preach the Old Testament?

Bryan Chapell
Honestly, I think the greater danger is the latter one. Often I hear people teaching others to just be a better person, improve their performance, improve their competence, know more, or do better. And the problem with that is it actually just serves the human instinct. People think that they are the answer to their problem with God. If all I am regularly doing is teaching people to improve their competence or improve their performance, then they will inevitably perceive themselves as their own redeemer. And that becomes the problem. People will do better so the ogre in the sky will be nice to them, or do better so that they can compare to other people—either in doctrine or in performance—and that will make them acceptable to God.
Now, nobody would answer it that way in the exam. But when we are constantly communicating that they should do better or know more, people will believe that what makes them acceptable to God this week is that they’ve done better or they know more than the people down the street. The gospel message, which is unfolding through all the Scriptures, is that God must make a way. You do not make your own way, God must make a way. And being true to the Scriptures is asking, If you do not make your own way out of your human predicament, if God has to make the way out, how does he ultimately do that?
I think grace is on display virtually everywhere. If God is giving food to hungry people, if God is giving rest to weary people, if he gives victory to a few people; what is God showing us about himself? He’s the rescuer.

source


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The Privilege Of Watching God’s Word At Work (via John Chester)

In this post about preachers and preaching, John Chester remarks about one incredible privilege that preachers have, particularly those who are blessed to preach to congregations where they can pretty much see everyone, and who are able to be free from a manuscript long enough to observe how people are reacting to God’s Word:

There is one other profound blessing that the pastor receives because he is looking into the faces of the congregation. The living and active nature of the Word of God is impressed on him as never before. [Of course this only applies to pastors who actually preach the bible!] From behind the pulpit I have seen people burst in to tears, tears of joy at the thought of heaven and the hope we have in Christ, and tears of conviction in response to a powerful truth of Scripture. I have seen the look cross a visitors face the split second they become offended by the gospel, and I have seen someone sitting with their arms defiantly crossed melt and soften as the Word of God washes over them. It is a unique blessing to be able to see how people respond to the preaching of the Word of God.

Read the whole post here.


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Which Books Of The Bible Get Preached From The Most? (via Oli Tucker)

Having preached through Psalms and now approaching the end of John’s gospel on Sunday nights at MGPC over the last six or so years, it will soon be time to commit to something new.
This article by Oli Tucker surveys a web application that hosts recorded sermons and discovers which books of the Bible have the most sermons preached from them.
It’s no surprise that nineteen most popular books are from the New Testament, but there are some interesting observations.
The types of churches that use the hosting site are more likely to be committed to sequential expository preaching rather than topical or lectionary texts, so it points out some common emphases in the conservative evangelical culture, as well as some areas that can be over looked.
As evangelical churches skew toward preaching entry-level material in topical guise I’d only expect these sorts of differences to increase. The whole counsel of God becoming the curated counsel of God, so to speak.

From the article:

As with many things in life and ministry we do, at times, need our hands holding over the fire even when it comes to preaching the whole counsel of God and preaching Christ from all the Scriptures. I guess the question this exercise has exposed is: do we know enough to be sure we are actually doing that, and therefore serve our churches well?

Read the article at Strand Blog.


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Preaching Hopeful Realism (via Joel Beeke)

In writing that good sermons need to preached realistically, idealistically, and optimistically, Joel Beeke writes why optimism is essential.
If you’re listening to a sermon tomorrow may it contain this element:

A Hopeful Realism
The believer also needs to hear from the pulpit the optimistic preaching of the Christian life: that one day I will be as holy as Jesus is holy and I’ll be married to him forever. I’ll be his bride and there will be a utopian marriage between me and him and in heaven this glorious idealism will be perfected in eternal optimism.
If that truth isn’t taught, then we can sort of stay settled in this life. We put our tent stakes in the soil too deeply and think this earth is all there is. Whereas optimistic preaching about the future teaches us that this life here is just like an introduction to a book and eternity is the whole book and we’re always living with one eye on eternity.
I need that optimistic view of the eternal destiny of the believer—that God will make amends for everything on that great day and I will enter the joy of the Lord.

Read the rest of the post here.


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Sometimes You Can Get The Necessary Information, But Lack Essential Context

Sometimes sermons can be all push and no pull.
The facts are communicated as information – perhaps all imperatives, but preaching illustrates and seeks to draw – something of a winsome invitation.
Bible preaching does both: instructs and invites.
This is when news becomes good news.
Saw this précis of movie that reminded me of the principle.
It tells you what the movie is about, but doesn’t really tell you what the movie is like.