Most Important In A Church

The first mark of a healthy church is expositional preaching.  It is not only the first mark; it is far and away the most important of them all, because if you get this one right, all of the others should follow… If you get the priority of the Word established, then you have in place the single most important aspect of the church’s life, and growing health is virtually assured, because God has decided to act by His Spirit through His Word… The congregation’s commitment to the centrality of the Word coming from the front, from the preacher, the one specially gifted by God and called to that ministry, is the most important thing you can look for in a church.

Mark Dever (Nine Marks of a Healthy Church)

“The Order of Salvation”

1. Election (God’s choice of the people to be saved)
2. The Gospel call (Proclaiming the message of the gospel)
3. Regeneration (Being born again)
4. Conversion (Faith and Repentance)
5. Justification (Right legal standing)
6. Adoption (Membership in the God’s family)
7. Sanctification (Right conduct of life)
8. Perseverance (Remaining a Christian)
9. Death (Going to be with the Lord)
10. Glorification (Receiving a ressurrection body)

Taken from: Making Sense of Salvation by Wayne Grudem

The Parable of the Drowning Man

Dear Friends:

Perhaps you have run into an earnest Christian, that when opposing the biblical teaching of the “bondage of the will”, “salvation by grace alone” and “election” will use the common salvation analogy which likens the unsaved to a helpless drowning man. That a loving God gives us free choice while drowning whether we will reach out and take His hand to be saved or not. That only an ‘evil’ God, they say, would leave or not attempt to save people who are drowning in a lake. “How could a loving God be so cruel just to leave them there drowning,” they argue.

There are quite a number of things that might be said in response to this. First of all we must clarify that what distinguishes our tradition from freewillism is not that one God loves people and the other conception of God does not. No… the distinction is between an intensive and an extensive love, between an intensive love where God actually expresses His love by laying down His life to redeem His loved ones, and an extensive love that loves everyone in a generic sense but actually delivers no one in particular. Consider the parable of the drowning man again in light of these two perspectives:

(1) Your child is drowning off the edge of your boat. You are a great swimmer but the swells are high and it is risky. You call out to your child to use his willpower to swim back to the boat to save himself, yet he is entirely too weak to do so. You reach out your hand but it depends on whether your child is a good enough swimmer to get to you and has the strength in himself to reach out his arm. But you do nothing more than call for him to come and will only go as far as reaching out your hand since you wouldn’t want to violate his free will to let him decide if he will swim back and reach for your help.

(2) Your child is drowning off the edge of your boat. You are a great swimmer but the swells are high and it is risky. But your love for your child outweighs all other considerations and without hesitation you leap into the water at the risk of your own life, due to the weather, and actually save your child from drowning. You drown in the process but your child is saved. In other words, you don’t just wait to see if he is willing or has the strength. He doesn’t. So you go in and save your child regardless of the cost to yourself.

Which of the two fathers is more loving I ask?

The first one, if you haven’t yet guessed, is the Arminian “father”. He sees his child in trouble and will only save him on condition that he has the capacity to swim through the waves and reach out and take hold of the father. The father will not, however, risk his life to actually MAKE SURE that the son does not drown. His love does not act so this love is ineffectual. It all depends on how the son responds. It is a love which is conditional. The Arminian gospel is just like this because if God violates the human will in any way it makes Him evil in their mind. [Note: I will tell you what. If I am stubborn and will not obey the gospel, afterwards I would be grateful if he “violated” my will to save me from drowning. What I want does not matter since I am only a child with reference to God. It is what God wants that matters. What I want will conform to what God wants when He opens the eyes of my understanding. This is not something I can produce naturally. The Holy Spirit must act or I die. If your child is to be hit by a car, do you wait to see what he will do or do you run out to save him? I don’t care if the child did not want it at the time. I do it anyway if I love him. The fact is what kind of love just sits there and does nothing but woo and hope you will save yourself? Is that the kind of love we expect of a parent, let alone our Heavenly Father?]

The second analogy is the Augustinian father. His love is not weak-willed or ineffectual but he loves his children with a resolute will that accomplishes what His love dictates by actually saving his child, even by forfeiting his own life in the process. God is love, and God’s love is like His Word … He says of it, “It will not return to Me empty, without accomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.” This is beautiful and what love is all about because it means we can take God at His word and promises.

Again, which father in the story is more loving?

Of course the analogy is flawed since the son, in real life is already dead to the things of the father and due to his autonomy and pride, would never take his father’s help to do what he knows (or thinks) he can do for himself.

Naturally the next question is why does God not save everyone then? That is a deep mystery but we know God conspires with His own goodness and wisdom and always does what is right whether we fully understand His reasons or not. The same mystery equally extends to the question of why He bothers to save anyone at all. Given our hostility toward Him it is even more amazing that He chooses anyone. Why not give us what we all deserve, which is justice? So while it is true we may not know why He chooses only some for redemption, the Scriptures do teach the “what” and the “how” …that He, in fact, does save a partuclar people for Himself. But it is not for us to pry into the mystery of why (since He has not revealed it) except that it was His good pleasure … And it is not for us to presume, as some do, that election means He must have bad motives in doing so. We know, from revelation, that the character of God is always good and trustworthy so we can know with certainty that He does His choosing for good reasons that are in Himself even though we may not fully understand God’s purpose. But to conclude, therefore, that God must be evil if He chooses some and not others is presumptious at best. The very fact that He does it is the highest reason in the universe. That He has covenantally set His affection on certain persons but not others is His prerogative. There cannot be a better reason than “God wills it”. Can you think of a better reason?

But to perhaps gain some understanding from what God has revealed to us, consider the following:

The Arminian calls a God who leaves a rebel behind as evil. To expose the fallacy of this argument we should respond biblically by asserting that God would only be “evil” in leaving them if people were undeserving of just punishment. By using “drowning in a lake” as an analogy, they are making it sound like our condition before salvation is innocuous. This logical fallacy is called an “appeal to pity” (ad misercordiam). “Look at the helpless person drowning and the Calvinist God does nothing. This God must be an ogre”.

Perhaps if our problem were only of a physical disability or of an innocent man drowning then, of course, we might be more tempted to make God out to be an ogre. But this is not how the Scripture describes the disposition of a sinner’s heart. The Scripture says the unregenerate are rebels, hostile to God by nature. Realizing that analogies are imperfect, this drowning analogy still depends on pity for it to work at all, but is actually imposing an alien presupposition on the Scripture that we were just helplessly, innocently in need and God is, therefore, obligated to reach out to save us, lest we drown. So according to this analogy the one condition for us to meet if God is to love us is to reach out our hand and take hold of His, which He is obligated to extend lest otherwise He must be evil, they reason. Not only is this kind of love conditional but this love does nothing to help the helpless except call to him from afar. I hope you are beginning to see the clear problem with this line of reasoning.

Lets get the facts straight: nowhere does Scripture even hint that man is just innocently drowning. Rather it describes us as willfully and purposefully hostile toward God like an opposing army, suppressing the truth and replacing God with our own idols, having a debt we cannot and will not repay. The Text says that we love darkness and hate the light – which means our affections are bent on fleeing from God. Michael Horton once described it like this: “We cannot find God for the same reason that a thief can’t find a police officer.” It is not as though we just had a physical inability, but our condition is described as a moral inability with darkened affections (John 3:19) in need of a new birth (John 3:3-6), i.e. a completely new nature that we might desire and understand the things of God (1 Cor 2: 5-14). One thing to remember is that we are all debtors for willfully breaking God’s holy Law. We owe a debt we cannot repay – the price is too high, and further, we are unwilling. This means that we justly deserve God’s wrath – all of us. Unless we can say that we justly deserve God’s displeasure, save in the mercy of Jesus Christ, then we have yet to truly understand the gospel. If God were to completely wipe out the entire human race in one fell swoop, it would be entirely just for that is what we rightly deserve. If we were all thrown into an eternal hell, we would merely be getting our just deserts.

But since we are using analogies here is another: if nine people owed me money, and I canceled the debt of seven, the other two would have no grounds for complaint. In the same way if God canceled no one’s debt it would be entirely proper, but if He cancels the debt of some of them, the others have no ground for complaint. They are responsible to repay but do not have the ability to repay (see Rom 3:20). God is in no way obligated to to cancel anyone’s debt, but because He is loving and merciful He paid the debt for those He came to save according to His sovereign good pleasure (Eph 1:4, 5).

We must remember also that God has more than just one attribute … and we must also remember that God is infinitely holy, just and wrathful. When we say we are saved what do we mean? What are we saved from? We are saved from God. Yes, saved from God. If God is truly a just God, His wrath must be poured out on the guilty. God is holy and no sin can stand in His presence – His justice requires just payment, a payment we cannot repay.

So God gives one of two things to humans in this life: justice or mercy. Those in Christ have received mercy. It wasn’t because God saw anything in us that recommended us to Him, or because of our great resume or skill but because of his mercy alone that he saved us.

He didn’t love us because of our faith but loved and redeemed us UNTO faith. We are justified through faith alone but we didn’t produce faith in our unregenerate, hostile fallen nature … God mercifully granted that we would repent and believe the gospel (2 Tim 2:25, Eph 2:8). Apart from His grace, which He granted us in the new birth, we would never come to God on our own. Rather, God has set His affection on us from eternity. He came to find us and deliver us from death that we might worship and have fellowship with Him. So if men suffer in Hell it is not because God so determined that they would for no reason, but because of their sin, and if we are saved it is solely because of His grace.

In spite of ourselves God came in the person of Jesus Christ to bear the full brunt of God’s wrath for His people. The punishment we deserved fell on Him. He saves many but passes over the rest. He leaves the non-elect to do what they will. They choose to rebel because this is their natural inclination – God did not have to coerce them. So is God an ogre standing over some poor helpless drowning man? No, He is faced with people who are wilfully trying to establish themselves against Him and do not want His help. In fact they take up arms against the King. They will do anything they can to flee from Him, to declare autonomy and mutiny.

God sends His servants and His Son but we kill them instead. Does God have the obligation to save those who killed His Son? Or those who conspire against Him as we once did? No, He is righteous if he casts them in the lake of fire. But in spite of all we have done against Him, He comes in love bearing the punishment we justly deserve on His own person. Great love. But He will have mercy on whom He will (Rom 9:15, 16). Who are you man to tell God He is evil or unjust for saving some and leaving others? We should marvel that He saves any. If anyone would agree that He is just in punishing us all (which Arminians do), how then can they be consistent to make Him unjust for punishing some and saving the rest for His own good and wise reasons?

We must ask ourselves in light of all this, what is love? What is a holy love? … and which description most closely fits with true biblical love. Jesus said in John 10 that He not only “calls his own sheep by name and leads them out” (John 10:3) but that “the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.” (John 10:11,15) but he says of others that they “do not believe because [they] are not of My Sheep.” (John 10:26) . He lays down his life for the sheep but some are not his sheep, and that is the reason they do not believe, Jesus says.

GOD GAVE THEM A SPIRIT OF STUPOR, EYES TO SEE NOT AND EARS TO HEAR NOT, DOWN TO THIS VERY DAY.” (Rom 11:8)

In their case the prophecy of Isaiah is being fulfilled, which says, ‘YOU WILL KEEP ON HEARING, BUT WILL NOT UNDERSTAND; YOU WILL KEEP ON SEEING, BUT WILL NOT PERCEIVE; (Matt 13:14)

Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways! (Rom 11:33)

– J.W. Hendryx

What You Reeeally Want in a Pastor

HT: 9marks

There are a lot of things a church should look for in its next pastor. But as your church considers different pastoral candidates, I want to make sure this is toward the top of your list: a supernatural faith in the power of God’s Word.

AS IMPORTANT ANY OTHER QUALITY

I’m not talking about a man who simply checks the belief box on the “authority” or “sufficiency” or “power” of the Bible.

I’m talking about a man who whose conviction here runs so deep that it profoundly influences the way he works and lives. He plans his weekly schedule based on this conviction. He rests his daily mood upon this conviction. He even picks his clothes in the morning knowing that, it’s not how good he looks that will bring life to the dead, it’s the resurrection power of God’s Word and Spirit.

This is as important as any other quality a pastor could have. It’s as important as swimming is to a lifeguard, throwing is to a quarterback, or adding is to an accountant. It defines the very task of what a pastor does.

THE POWER OF THE WORD

Humans create with hands, shovels, and bulldozers. Not God. God creates with words. He says, “Be,” and it is. He says “Peace” to the riotous wind and waves, and they obey. He says “Come forth” to dead people and their eyes pop open.

Just as astonishing, God tells the light to shine in dark hearts, giving them the ability to see the glory of his Son (2 Cor. 4:6). His Word of power saves (Rom. 10:17). It fundamentally changes people (1 Thess. 1:5-7). It gives the new birth (1 Peter 1:23).

Now get this: God gives his faithful servants the ability to do the same things. “If anyone speaks, she should do it as one speaking the very words of God.” (1 Peter 4:11). This is why Don Carson calls preaching “re-revelation.” A preacher’s primary task is to say again what God has already said. Did you think life comes to the dead through the power of our intelligence or humor or charisma?

Picture Ezekiel standing in a valley of dry bones. He preaches God’s Word, God’s Spirit blows, and the bones come to life. Your church wants a pastor who believes—deep in his bones!—that the same supernatural power is available to him. POW! He doesn’t rely on “the weapons of the world” but on “divine power to demolish strongholds” (2 Cor. 10:4). KAZAMM!

WHY THIS IS CRITICAL

Why is this critical for who your church should look for in a pastor search?

  1. It will keep him from manipulating. Paul said he “renounced secret and shameful ways” but instead “set forth the truth plainly” (2 Cor. 4:2).  If a man believes that the Word alone is powerful to save, that’s what he’ll do—preach plainly and not try to emotionally manipulate.
  2. It will keep him from building your church and your spiritual life on his personality. Paul wasn’t a “trained speaker” with an impressive resume, like the “super-apostles.” He just preached Jesus, the Spirit, and the gospel (2 Cor. 11:4-5). Likewise, you want a man who is a good steward of his gifts, doesn’t rely on or trust his gifts to give life. He plants and waters, but relies on God to give the growth (1 Cor. 3:6-7). Men who build on their personalities have churches filled with nominal Christians.
  3. It will keep him happy. A man who trusts God to save by his Word and Spirit is a man who can sleep at night, because it doesn’t finally depend on him. This is a happy man who probably has a happy wife and children because he spends time with them. He doesn’t carry the weight of the world on his shoulders. This is a man who won’t burn out as easily and will serve your church for years.
  4. It’s the primary means to your growth and your church’s growth. It’s through the words of the apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers that God’s people become prepared for works of service “so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ” (Eph. 4:11-13).
  5. It’s your best hope of reaching non-Christian neighbors. “Faith comes from hearing the message,” says Paul (Rom. 10:17). Can the message be proclaimed through special programs and events? Of course. But you want a man who recognizes that it’s the regular, weekly “in season, out of season” work of “great patience and careful instruction” that saves the lost and builds up the saints—you want a man who “does the work of an evangelist” (2 Tim. 4:2-5).
HOW CAN YOU TELL?
How do you know if a pastoral candidate has these convictions?
  1. Consider what he’s excited about. Does he make good but secondary things primary?
  2. Ask him about his philosophy of preaching.
  3. Ask him what his last ten sermons were.
  4. Ask what he could imagine preaching in the first year at your church.
  5. Ask about his personal evangelism and personal discipleship of Christians. What role does the Word play?
  6. Look for evidences of patience. A man who believes in the power of God’s Word will be a patient man, not someone who insists on quick, visible results.
This article was originally posted at www.pastorsearchresources.com, and has been reprinted here courtesy of Chris Brauns.

The Reform of First Baptist Church of Durham

By Andrew Davis

On Sunday morning, August 19, 2001, I began corporate worship at First Baptist Church (FBC) Durham by calling on the members of the church to repent. The church had just elected a woman deacon for the first time in its history, and deacons in our church’s polity were treated as spiritual leaders with shepherding responsibility for the flock. I had been teaching the congregation that Scripture reserves spiritual leadership to men, and I had made private efforts to forestall this result. Still, the church voted in a woman as an authoritative spiritual leader. Read more >

What is The Power Behind a Pulpit?

The pulpit drives the health of the congregation.  When the pulpit is weak, the spiritual health of the congregation is weak. What makes a strong pulpit? What makes a strong pulpit is expositional preaching. Without true expositional preaching, the congregation will contract all kinds of disease.  Diseases that will eventually lead to death.  The life source of a congregation is in the power of God’s word. Congregation needs a consistence diet of true expositional preaching. Expositional preaching motivates the congregation to see the holiness of God and see the sinfulness of man. True expositional preaching exalts Christ and not man.

Eric Davis posted a great article on Church-Planting and Pulpit-Priority.  Eric emphazised the importants of expostional preaching and how it relates to church planting. Here are some points taken from the article:

  • Nothing is more sacred than sound exposition of the God-breathed word before the redeemed, where every morsel of the mind of God is unpacked to the church. They gather together because the pulpit ministry is not lesser community, or in opposition to it, rather, it is the pinnacle of biblical community.
  • Accurate exposition pumps life into the church so that the word richly dwells within them, launching the saints to use their gifts and do the work of the ministry with all wisdom. Strip the church of expository preaching, and you cripple God’s people from using their Spirit-gifts. The Spirit-inspired word is what gives power to right use of spiritual gifts.
  • A rich pulpit ministry is not hindering from mission, it equips for it. Exposition is not in conflict with evangelism, it is evangelism. When the Bible speaks, God speaks.
  • exposition evokes evangelism, and not the opposite. God’s people need to feast. The lost need to know God from all angles, in all his glory, through exposition, and see his regenerate people committed to transforming community. “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life” (John 6:63). Give yourself to exposition and watch Spirit-filled community and evangelism take off.
  • When the exposition of the word is de-emphasized, the flock will not only have little content, but little direction for evangelism. Little pulpit, little evangelism.
  • Exposition assumes the message is extracted from careful exegesis, interpreting the passage in its grammatical-historical context, then applied. The pastor actually gets out of the way by submitting to every jot and tittle through exposition. Reading the passage then discussing around the topic in the passage is not necessarily expositing the passage
  • Exposition ensures that God, not men, are speaking. With every verse unleashed, the Spirit casts more light on Christ himself. After all, that is what the flock needs; for comfort in struggle; motivation to press on; meaningful community, and God-glorifying evangelism.
  • “If you want to be relevant, become an expositor.”

Read the entire post here

Preach the Word: Essays on Expository Preaching: In Honor of R. Kent Hughes

 

In conjunction with yesterday’s posting on “What does this Bible verse means to me?”, here is a posting that can help you better interpret the Bible. Above is a picture of Pastor Keith taken with Kent Hughes at The Gosple Coalition conference we attended in April.

Grudem’s chapter in Preach the Word offers some helpful reminders on correctly interpreting the Scripture

  1. Spend your earliest and best time reading the text of the Bible itself.
  2. The interpretation of Scripture is not a magical or mysterious process, because Scripture was written in the ordinary language of the day.
  3. Every interpreter has only four sources of information about the text: (a) The meanings of individual words and sentences; (b) the place of the statement in its context; (c) the overall teaching of Scripture; (d) some information about the historical and cultural background.
  4. Look for reasons rather than mere opinions to give support to an interpretation, and use reasons rather than mere opinions to attempt to persuade others.
  5. There is only one meaning for each text (though there are many applications).
  6. Notice the kind of literature in which the verse is found.
  7. Notice whether the text approves or disapproves or merely reports a person’s actions
  8. Be careful not to generalize specific statements and apply them to fundamentally different situations.
  9. It is possible to do a short or long study of any passage. Do what you can with the time you have, and don’t be discouraged about all that you cannot do.
  10. Pray regularly for the Holy Spirit’s help in the whole process of interpreting the Bible.
Grudem goes on to encourage his readers to keep the “big picture” in mind with 6 other reflections.
  1. The Bible is a historical document. Therefore, always ask, “What did the author want the original readers to understand by this statement?”
  2. The original authors wanted the original readers to respond in some way. Therefore always ask, “What application did the original author want the readers to make to their lives?”
  3. The whole Bible is about God! Therefore we should always ask, “What does the text tell us about God?”
  4. The center of the whole Bible is Jesus Christ. The entire Old Testament leads up to him and points to him, and the entire New Testament flows from him. Therefore, we should always ask, “What does this text tell us about the greatness of Christ?”
  5. All history can be divided into several major “ages” or “epochs” in salvation history. Therefore, we should read every passage of the Bible with a salvation history timeline in our minds and constantly remember where every passage fits on the timeline.
  6. Themes: Because the Bible is a unity (it has one divine Author though many human authors), there are many themes that develop and grow from Genesis to Revelation. Therefore, for each significant element in any text, it is helpful to ask, (a) Where did this theme start in the Bible? (b) How did this theme develop through the Bible? and (c) Where is this theme going to end in the Bible?

"What does this Bible verse mean to ME?"

The question should be: “What does this Bible verse MEAN?”.

Why Expositional Preaching? – 9marks (Mark 1)

Introduction

The purveyors of technique in today’s marketplace of ideas cringe to think that anyone would still be lauding the sermon as an effective pitch. Times have changed. Truth itself has changed. What communicates to the postmodern mind is narrative, journey, epic, vignette; not linear arguments, objective conclusions, or exclusive truth claims. The days of expounding the meaning and implications of a text are long gone. Meaning, like beauty, is now in the eye of the beholder. Universally binding morality is thereby supposed to be a mere myth, and so the authority of the preached Word of God is brushed aside as obsolete. Winning the culture means playing on their new field. So we are told.

But God’s Word has something to say about what we preach and how we preach it. What you’ll find on the following pages is a brief Biblical rationale for the primacy of expositional preaching in the local church. But that’s not all. You’ll also find some practical resources to encourage and facilitate the continuing development and increasing fruitfulness of your own expositional ministry. We’ll even walk you through the sermon preparation process. Learn what expositional preaching really is (and is not), and discover the difference between expositional sermons and other kinds of sermons. Learn how you can plan for feeding people a healthy diet of expositional meals months ahead of time, and thereby free yourself from worrying about what to preach on this week. Download audio samples of expositional preaching at its best.

What are the different kinds of preaching?

The Lay of the Land

The Definitions

  • Anecdotala sermon in which the preacher primarily tells engaging stories with a moral lesson.
  • Biographical – a sermon in which the preacher traces the life of a biblical character and draws contemporary moral implications.
  • Topicala sermon that has a topic in mind prior to consulting the text, and then searches for one or more biblical texts that address the topic chosen beforehand.
  • Textuala sermon that refers often to a particular Biblical text, but does not take the main point of the text as its own.
  • Expositional – a sermon which takes the point of the text as the point of the sermon

The Biblical Background for Expositional Preaching

The Biblical Primacy of Exposition

God’s Word gives clear primacy to exposition.

  • Many preachers and pastors today question whether the Bible really gives us any reason to think i that expositional preaching is the best way to preach.
  • But the prophetic nature of preaching and the performative nature of God’s Word reveal exposition to be best suited to unleashing the power of the text.

Exposition is primary because preaching is prophetic.

  • To say that preaching is prophetic is not to say that it is either predictive or ecstatic utterance – preachers are ambassadors, not prognosticators; and their source of revelation is God’s mediated written word, not His immediate verbal word. It is rather to say that preaching is about receiving God’s word and communicating it to God’s people in a way that is faithful to God’s intention.
  • Preaching is prophetic because it conveys God’s Word to God’s people. Exposition best handles the prophetic nature of preaching because the expositional sermon is unique for taking the point of the passage as the point of the message. It is therefore the best way to remain faithful to the content and intent of God’s Word in any given text.

Isn’t there only one kind of expositional sermon?

Ditch the disposable; Invest in Telephoto

  • Telephoto Preaching
    • Our preaching often becomes like taking pictures with a disposable camera – no zooming, no panning, focus isn’t guaranteed, and panoramics are unlikely.
    • Expositional preaching is like graduating to a telephoto lens – it gives you the ability to take a wider diversity of Scriptural snapshots from new angles and more perspectives with higher resolution, richer texture, and variable scope.
    • Since an expositional sermon is one in which the point of the passage is taken as the point of the sermon, we are just as free to ask “what is the point of Romans?” in one expositional sermon as we are to ask “what is the point of Romans 8:1a?” in another.
    • Proceeding from panoramic to microscopic, then, we may legitimately preach a single expositional sermon on the whole Bible, a whole testament, a whole book, a whole narrative or parable, one paragraph, one phrase, or a single word – as long as we are preaching the intended point of the selected meaning unit.
  • What are the Benefits of Expositional Preaching?

    The Benefits Package

    Benefits for the Pastor

    • Releases the pastor from Saturday Night Fever – the dreaded dilemma of what text to preach tomorrow morning.
    • Increases the likelihood of the pastor preaching the whole counsel of God over time.
    • Increases the pastor’s command of the Word by forcing him to study difficult or often-neglected texts for himself.
    • Increases the Word’s command of the pastor by giving him a broader exposure to the probing sword of Scripture, deepening his continued repentance and faith, incrementally increasing his knowledge of God, and therefore enhancing his Spirit-produced ability to please God in every way (Heb 11:6; Col 1:9-12).
    • Increases the pastor’s God-given prophetic authority in the pulpit by grounding his preaching in the divinely intended meaning of the text.
    • Increases the pastor’s God-given blessing in the pulpit by remaining faithful to the intention of the One who sent him to preach a specific message.
    • Increases the trustworthiness of the pastor’s preaching in the eyes of the congregation.

    What Should I preach, and when?

    Time Lapse

     “I want to preach the whole counsel of God, but that’s a pretty big counsel. How do I start, and is there a tool I can use to keep me on track?”

    • The principle to follow is to consistently expose yourself and the congregation you serve to all the different genres (types of writing) in Scripture. This way you won’t get stuck preaching Ephesians three times in five years.

    How do I Prepare an Expositional Sermon?

    Planning and Preparation

    Planning the Menu – Dietary Balance

    • The best sermon preparation doesn’t wait until the week (or day) before you preach. It starts months ahead by taking time to think through what you’ll be preaching over the next, say, four months.
    • So think big picture at the outset. What Scriptural food group has been lacking lately in your congregation’s diet? What part of God’s Word might go neglected if you’re not intentional about planning to preach it?
    • Think also about varying the type of expositions you do over this four-month period. For example, follow up a ten-week in depth study of Ephesians with a three-week overview series in the minor prophets.
    • Again, think in terms of providing your hearers with an objectively balanced diet of Scripture, not just in terms of what you think they need to hear based on their subjective circumstances, or of what your favorite books or passages are.
    • If you’re young or in a new pastorate, think about weighting the schedule with overviews so that you can provide a framework for later detailed expositions. But be warned: overview sermons are a LOT of work, so don’t overdo the overview.

    R.C. Sproul Interviews D.A. Carson on Biblical Exegesis

    %d bloggers like this: