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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.


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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.