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The Need For Repitition (via Stephen Kneale)

There is a need for some types of repitition in preaching.
Just because you’ve said it once doesn’t mean everyone’s heard and understood.
But this doesn’t mean you simply arrive at the same point mechanically in the sermon every week.
It’s also why meeting together during the week and talking about the sermon can help people understand and apply the teaching of the text more clearly.
Stephen Kneale

… we can assume that our preaching has achieved far more than it has. It’s not at all uncommon for preachers to finish a series in whatever book they’ve been in and assume, because they’ve stood up and spoken about it systematically each week, their members now have Numbers or Acts or whatever locked down. No need to ever mention those things again because our people now ‘know them.’ At the risk of stating the obvious, it just ain’t so.
I suspect the tendency comes from a few places. For one, the guy preaching has spent so much longer in each passage than anybody else. He probably does know the book reasonably well by the end of the series. But we quickly forget that the 15-hours or so spent on each sermon makes the 30-40 minutes of those listening to it seem paltry by comparison. In a reasonably short series of 6 sermons, your people will have listened to c. 3-hours of preaching whilst, at 15-hours per sermon, the preacher has spent 90-hours in the book. We quickly forget our people haven’t spent the same time reading, contemplating and exegeting the passage as the preacher.

Read the rest at Building Jerusalem.

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Preaching Won’t Love You (via Lewis Allen and The Preacher’s Catechism)

May those of you who gather to hear God’s word tomorrow witness proclamation that is based on love of God and hearers, not based on love for the act of speaking.
From Lewis Allen’s The Preacher’s Catechism – Q&A 32: What is the summary of the Ten Commandments for preachers? – Loving the Lord your God and your neighbour, not your preaching is the goal of the law.

Preachers are ambitious. At least, we should be. If we don’t long that people will meet the risen Christ through our ministry, then what do we want to achieve through preaching? We need to root out that false godliness which wants little and is content with even less. Some reason that as long as we’ve preached orthodoxy, then God must be glorified. Isaiah 55:11 is quoted as the proof text of this dismal spirituality. Hearers might be left feeling empty, but our consolation — and we hope theirs, too — is that the Word will not return to God empty. But if our hearers are not presented with Christ in such a way that they are compelled to receive Christ by faith, then what has been achieved? A preacher who aims at merely saying what the Word says, with no prayerful longing that the Word would bear fruit, isn’t a God-honoring servant.
The danger lurks, though. Every preacher has experienced it to different degrees. Give your heart to preaching and expect it to love you back and fulfill all of your needs, and you’ll be bitterly disappointed. Preaching doesn’t love anyone. You can’t expect that it’ll satisfy your heart. Any preacher who seeks to find his life in his pulpit ministry is kidding himself all the way to idolatry. Preaching will pass.

The Preacher’s Catechism, Lewis Allen, Crossway, 2018, pg 162.

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The Warning Signs Of Preaching Idolatry (via Lewis Allen and The Preacher’s Catechism)

From Lewis Allen’s The Preacher’s Catechism – Q&A 23: What does the second commandment teach us? – You shall not make a preaching idol of your image or anyone else’s.

Here are some warning signs that you could be in danger of preaching idolatry:
You can never read the Bible for your own soul’s profit. It just doesn’t seem important anymore. Now you’re consumed with studying the Bible for the sake of others. In fact, when you do sit down to read your Bible, you actually start noting how you could preach the passage, and you’re halfway through preparing an out- line before you realize it. Maybe your soul is starting to shrivel just as your work expands.
You can never say no to a sermon. You get restless when you’re not preaching on a Sunday. You struggle to listen to the truth of a sermon, because instead you’re critiquing the sermon. You’re always looking for more opportunities to preach. Called you may be, and compelled to preach — well, that’s a given; but are you a preaching obsessive?

The Preacher’s Catechism, Lewis Allen, Crossway, 2018, pg 126.

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Jesus Says, “Feed My Sheep,” Not “Feed Your Ego.” (via Lewis Allen and The Preacher’s Catechism)

From Lewis Allen’s The Preacher’s Catechism – Q&A 9: Why does God call us to preach? – God calls us to serve all of our hearers with His Gospel.

Preaching to the glory of God is all about helping others to grasp and delight in the truth of the gospel. God’s glory revealed in the cross of Christ and declared in preaching is the good of grace-hungry people. “The eternal salvation of the human soul, through the presentation of divine truth, is the end of preaching,” William Shedd wrote. That is what God wants from you, and that is what your hearers need from you, regardless of whether they currently understand that or actually want it. Anything less is just bad preaching.
So, preaching is a pursuit of giving glory to God as his gospel truth in Jesus Christ is lovingly declared. As long as he gets the glory, what does it really matter what happens to us? If the splendour of God outshines and outlasts the tiny splendour of a billion suns, does your gratification in ministry really mean anything? Is your reputation of the slightest importance? Of course not. Preaching must always be an exercise in self-effacement, not self-promotion, or even self-fulfillment. Jesus says, “Feed my sheep,” not “Feed your ego.” People must be led to Christ, and led on with Christ through preaching.

The Preacher’s Catechism, Lewis Allen, Crossway, 2018, pg 62.

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An Expositor Doesn’t Merely Preach From A Text Or On A Text. An Expositor Preaches The Text. (via Jason Allen)

Some thoughts from Jason Allen about expository preaching.
If you’re at church tomorrow listen for the message of God’s word, not some words that use God’s word to impart a speaker’s message.

… “preaching the word” is marked by these three essentials:
1. The necessity of accurately interpreting the text in its immediate, and broader, biblical context.
2. The necessity of the main point of the sermon and the sermon’s sub-points to be derived from the text.
3. The necessity of the sermon’s application to come from the text and for the text to be brought to bear on the congregation.
These three marks are, admittedly, minimalistic, but they are essential. They are found where an expository sermon is to be found. Consequentially, expository preaching may be much more than this, but it mustn’t be anything less than this.
So, how do you know if a sermon is an expository one?
Is the text accurately interpreted, with consideration given to both its immediate and broader biblical contexts?
Are the main point of the sermon and its sub-points derived from the text?
Does the sermon’s application come from the text and is the text being brought to bear on the congregation?
An expositor doesn’t merely preach from a text or on a text. An expositor preaches the text.

Read the whole post here.

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On Not Swinging For The Fence Every Time (via Daniel Darling)

Borrowing an analogy from baseball, Daniel Darling writes about ordinary preachers and their week-to-week preaching ministry.
Having an expectation that the exceptional should be the ordinary experience creates a type of Christian life that is neither sustainable or recognisable from a biblical or historic framework.
From Darling:

This is not an excuse for mediocrity. It’s not a rant against celebrity. Every generation has genuinely gifted servants with ministries beyond their congregations. We should rejoice at their large kingdom impact. “There many not be many noble,” Paul says. But there are some and we thank God for their giftedness.
Still, I wonder if the rest, called to grind it out and preach weekly attempt to be superstars. I wonder if we try too hard, swinging for the fences with every new sermon. When I pastored, I had to fight this weekly.
You might call this the Revival Syndrome or the Camp Meeting Syndrome. Most of us who serve in ministry have experienced one or more of these emotional, life-changing moments, where a single message altered the course of our lives. But if we were to be honest, those sermons might have been catalysts, but it was the patient daily practices of Bible reading, church attendance, prayer, and spiritual mentoring that helped the seed of spirituality blossom.
As a pastor, you want every Sunday to be this meaningful for the people in your congregation. Yet, there is something wrong if we expect every message, every worship service to be like that revival or camp meeting.


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The Joyous Preacher (via Lewis Allen)

The joyousness of the Christian life must be reflected in both the life and the message of the preacher.
From Lewis Allen:

Joy in Christ and his grace is the most convincing sign that the gospel has won our hearts. If we say we’ve been brought to Jesus and are his willing servants but live joyless lives, then there is a problem. If we preach out of a heavy sense of obligation, we are in trouble. And if we honestly believe that people will be won for Christ through our dutiful, even faithful and conscientious — but actually joyless — preaching, then we are deceiving ourselves. The whole world is looking for joy. The church is looking for it, too. And everyone’s looking at you. You’re the preacher, who’s supposed to have a message, even a life-transforming one. Are you being changed, then, in this one area that everyone longs for most of all? Are you a joyful preacher, whose words match the revolution you’re experiencing?

The Preacher’s Catechism, Lewis Allen, Crossway, 2018, pg 32.