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Archive for September, 2009

I’ve been thinking lately about why I preach the way I do. Every so often, everyone who preaches is called upon to defend what and how they preach.

I’m fully committed to an expository/expositional style of preaching. I preach through books of the Bible verse-by-verse and passage-by-passage. Simply defined, preaching of this type is when the main point of the text is the main point of the sermon. Preaching this way best fulfills the Great Commission the Lord Jesus gave His church in Matthew 28:18-20 –

“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey all that I have commanded you, and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

There are a number of reasons for this. In expository/expositional preaching, the Word of God is preached and taught in its original context and not in a piece-meal fashion. The congregation knows and understands what the Bible teaches more readily than when other styles are used (in other words, biblical literacy rises). Good Bible study techniques are modeled on a consistent basis. The congregation is protected from the preacher’s favorite texts or “hobby horses” and instead the whole counsel of God is proclaimed. In expository/expositional preaching, the Bible is put in its proper place among God’s people – the authoritative and sufficient Word of God.

Topical and textual preaching are appropriate at times, but the regular diet of a congregation should be expository/expositional preaching.

It’s helpful for us to think through what we do and why do it, and then write it out. In this case, it was encouraging and solidified my commitment to expository preaching.

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Parmesan Cheese

 

Last time we baked a pizza, the parmesan cheese served as a reminder.

The pizza was cooked, sliced, and ready to be put on the plate. I retrieved the container of 100% grated parmesan cheese from the refrigerator in order to add it to the two slices on my plate. I opened the wrong side of the container and proceeded to dump nearly a quarter of grated goodness on the pizza and the plate.

It was a reminder that I still have a long way to go, not only in successfully operating a container of parmesan but also in my spiritual growth. Paul wrote of this in Philippians 3:12-14 –

Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

P.S. Tonight was a different story. The parmesan cheese came out of the proper side of the lid this time!

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True story. When Karen and I were in college, the pastor of the church we attended announced that he would be preaching through the book of Daniel when he completed the series he was doing. A man came up to the pastor after the sermon and said, “I’ve heard that before. I’ve studied Daniel. I’ll be back when you’re done.”

What an attitude! It’s as if he thought since he’d studied Daniel previously in his life, he never needed to look at it again. Maybe he thought that he wouldn’t hear anything new or different. Whatever the reason, he wasn’t going to hang around and listen (or learn anything).

Here’s what Peter, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, said:

Therefore I intend always to remind you of these qualities, though you know them and are established in the truth you have. I think it right, as long as I am in this body, to stir you up by way of reminder, since I know that the putting off of my body will be soon, as our Lord Jesus Christ made clear to me. And I will make every effort so that after my departure you may be able at any time to recall these things.

Peter wanted to continue to remind his readers of what was true, even though they had heard it before, so that they would know it and be able to teach it to others.

In other words, we need to hear things more than once because we don’t pick everything up immediately.  We all know that intuitively, whether we’re dealing with math, a foreign language, mechanics, driving a car, making spaghetti, writing a blog post, or knowing and understanding what God teaches us in His Word.  We need to hear the truth of God’s Word over and over again – not just once – for the reason that we forget far too easily.

Yes, we may have heard it before, but we need to hear it again.

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