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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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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.


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Letting The Word Do Its Work – Again

At Ligonier, Steven Lawson recalls the well-known quote from Martin Luther about his belief that the event we know as the Reformation was primarily a ministry of God’s Word.
As Lawson goes on to add, tomorrow at MGPC we’ll be setting the Bible loose again confident that it will do its work.

As the Reformation began to break, Luther was approached: “Explain what is taking place here in Europe?” “Explain the Reformation?” Luther gave this famous answer: “I simply taught, preached, wrote God’s Word. Otherwise, I did nothing. And then I slept. And the Word so greatly weakened the Papacy that never a prince and never an emperor inflicted such damage upon it. I did nothing. The Word did it all.”

We’re not looking for gospel gimmicks in these days. We’re not looking trendy little techniques. We’re looking for men, and women, and churches, and seminaries, and ministries, and denominations who will stand up with the Word of God—teach it, preach it, write it, sing it, counsel it, lift it up, let it out, and let it fly. And let the Word do its work.

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Allowing God To Set The Agenda (via Stephen Neale)

The bulk of sermons at MGPC follow an expository, systematic Bible teaching pattern. Sermon series follow books of the Bible, sometimes in sections. This year we’ve been through the book of James and we’ll finish with Ecclesiastes; we’ve also been through sections of 1 Kings (chapters 12-17) and Mark’s Gospel (chapters 9-11). We’ll return to those next year.
Sunday nights has been John’s Gospel, which I took up after finishing Psalms. Currently after John (whenever that finishes I think I’ll go through Isaiah).
Through summer and at various points of the year we have occasional sermons.
Our expository sermons focus on the passages at hand, not on themes drawn from them.
I believe this is the best way for people to hear God, and not the preacher’s themes and interests. We don’t ride hobby horses. We simply preach what the text is this week. And next week we preach the next text.

Stephen Neale points out that this is a balanced diet of God’s word, in contrast to the what might be understood as a dessert buffet version of preaching if the series reflect the preacher’s interests.

The regular diet of expository, systematic Bible teaching is like your meat and potatoes main meal. It will fill you up, it is good for you and it will build you up. I am convinced that the best diet for our churches is one that majors on teaching the scriptures faithfully, book-by-book and allowing the Lord to set the agenda for your church.

Read the whole post here.


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The Danger Of Moralistic Preaching That Drives Hearers Away From Christ (via David Prince)

An extended article pointing out how Biblical preaching, even preaching based on Gospel texts can lead people away from fellowship with Jesus through moralistic applications:

It is possible to preach only true assertions from the Scripture and yet mislead hearers regarding the truth of the faith because none of the truths of Scripture are meant to be understood in isolation. When ethical and moral imperatives are proclaimed as sufficient, even abstracted from Jesus, the result is a crossless Christianity in which the central message becomes an exhortation to live according to God’s rules. Christless, moralistic preaching is not restricted to the Old Testament. Frequently, gospel-free sermons emerge from the gospel narratives themselves, their significance reduced to mere moralisms.
When preaching is moralistic rather than Christ-centered hearers who possess a seared conscience may develop an attitude of self-righteousness: according to their judgment they are adequately living by God’s rules. Faithful believers with tender consciences may despair because they know that they constantly fall short of God’s standard. In other words, preaching bare moral truths (moralisms) often drives people away from fellowship with Christ.

Read the whole post at Christward Collective.

If you hear a sermon tomorrow, may its moral imperatives lead you to Christ, and base your response in knowing Christ.


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Every Christian’s Sermon Preparation (via Ryan McGraw)

There is usually a lot of preparation taking place on Saturday nights for sermons being preached on Sunday.
If you’re a Christian, even if you’re not going to preach, there’s sermon preparation that you can be doing as well.

From Ryan McGraw at Reformation21:

We should pray for preachers in light of the biblical definitions and goals of preaching. We should pray privately and corporately that the Spirit would accompany our pastors in their studies in order to achieve the aims of preaching. Do we pray that the Spirit would increase love for Christ in our ministers so that they would preach him devotionally? Do we pray that the Lord would grant them the skills needed to fulfill the duties of their office? Do we pray that Christ would give them the ability to apply their sermons wisely, warning every man and teaching every man in order to present every man perfect in Christ? (Col. 1:28). The role of church members in sermon preparation through prayer is equally vital (if not more so) as the pastor’s prayers throughout his studies. Through private and corporate prayer, we participate in the preparation of sermons.

read the whole post here