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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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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.

source


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Advice To Preachers (via Peter Adam)

Peter Adam provides what is titled Advice To A Young Preacher, but his points are worth revisiting at any age or stage in preaching experience.

This one is challenging when producing sermons in a most individualistic age and culture:

Recognize that most of the Bible is actually addressed to God’s people, not to individuals. Even books such as Luke–Acts, Timothy, and Titus have wider audiences in mind. The gospel is not just God’s plan for an individual Christian’s life; it is God’s plan to create His own people for His glory. The Bible is addressed to God’s people, and we should use it for the same purpose. If you want to know how to preach that way, read Deuteronomy, 1 Corinthians, Hebrews, 1 John, or Revelation 2–3.

Read the rest here.


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Fourteen Questions To Ask Before A Sermon Is Preached (via Peter Adam)

Peter Adam provides a succinct list of fourteen questions that need to be addressed by preachers before they deliver their sermon.
Here are numbers 6 to 11:

6. Have I reflected on and applied the passage and the sermon to myself, and responded with repentance, faith, and obedience?
7. Have I prayed for the people who will hear the sermon, for their understanding, response of faith and obedience, their transformation, and their ability and intention to teach and exhort others with what they have learnt?
8. Have I found what God wants to say through this passage to the people to whom I will preach, and how he wants to transform them?
9. Have I worked through the congregation’s response to this passage: what information they need, what they will find difficult, what they will misunderstand, what they will enjoy, what they need to learn, how they should be transformed?
10. Have I found what God wants to say to the whole congregation as a body?
11. Have I taken into account what different groups in the congregation will need: unbelievers, inquirers, new Christians, lapsed Christians, mature Christians?

Read the whole post here.


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Should Every Sermon End With Christ? (via The Gospel Coalition Australia)

Should every sermon end with Christ?
Peter Adam, Andrew Reid and Mike Raiter discuss.


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On Moral Imperatives And Gospel Presentation (via Michael Kruger)

One thing that drives me crazy are sermons that contain a whole bunch of ‘do’ statements without grounding the imperatives in the ‘done’ of the Gospel.
This article from Michael Kruger on just how closely any mention of moral imperative in Christian teaching and preaching should be accompanied by Gospel presentation tweaks a few of my concerns.

I would certainly agree that any moral imperative must always be rooted in the gospel message of grace and forgiveness in Christ. But, does this mean that it must always be stated immediately in the very next sentence? Does it always mean that it must be stated expressly every time you give a moral imperative?
I would argue that the gospel is the foundation for moral imperatives, the context for moral imperatives, and the backdrop for moral imperatives. But, we must be careful about insisting that there is a magical formula for how that must be expressed in any given proclamation of Christian teaching. Indeed, I think a number of biblical examples bear this out:

1. The book of James. When one reads the book of James it is clear that it is a letter of morals. We are called to not show partiality (2:1), to help the poor among us (2:15-16), to watch our tongues (3:1-12), to stop our coveting (4:1-2), to be patient and long suffering (5:7-8), to pray faithfully (5:16), and much more. Moreover, this letter does not explicitly mention the atonement, the cross, salvation by grace alone, or any core aspects of the “gospel” message. Is James therefore moralism? Not at all. You have to take James in context of the entire New Testament and the fact that the core aspects of the gospel message are explained elsewhere. No doubt James wrote already assuming that his audience understood the basic truths of the gospel.

2. The Sermon on the Mount. Although it is obvious to anyone who reads it, it is often overlooked that Jesus’ most famous sermon is composed of almost all moral imperatives. Jesus covers an impressive list of moral topics: anger, lust, divorce, oaths, fasting, worry, and more. Indeed, Jesus even warns his listeners that God’s judgment will fall on those who righteousness does not surpass that of the Pharisees (5:20), and for those who fail to keep his word (7:21-26). And, once again, there is no express mention of atonement, the cross, justification, etc. Does this make his sermon moralism? No, once again, the sermon has to be taken in the larger context of Jesus’ teachings, and the teachings of the NT as a whole.

3. The book of Proverbs. Once again, here is an entire book that is fulfilled with moral wisdom on how one should live their life. It tells us how to act, think, feel, on a variety of critical issues. And, there is no express discussion of atonement, justification, salvation by grace, etc. Does this make Proverbs moralism? Not at all. These exhortations, once again, need to be understood within the larger context of the Bible’s teachings.

These are just three quick examples designed to make a very simple point: sometimes it is ok to take large blocks of teaching and focus on Christian morals. One should not have to stop every five minutes to give a “gospel presentation” out of fear of being accused of moralism. The key issue is whether there is a larger context around those moral teachings that adequately provide a gospel foundation for obedience.

Read the whole post here.