Friday, September 30, 2011

Preaching Jesus

We must not underpreach Christ,
but we can never overpreach Him.

Al Mohler
Expositor's Conference

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Value of Christ

Again, the kingdom of Heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls,
who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it.
Matthew 13:45-46

Jesus, the One thing worth everything!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Preaching Consecutively and Expositionally

My first exposure to Bible teaching after I became a Christian was through our Sunday School teacher who taught through the Bible, book by book and verse by verse; even though the pastor preached topically.  My greatest anticipation each Sunday was not the service, but the Sunday School class, because I knew I would hear from God through His word.

This experience, and listening to other expository preachers and comparing their sermons against the topical kind, led me to my personal conviction about following a consecutive exposition format in my own preaching and teaching.  Yes, I occasionally preach a topical message or even a topical series, but the overwhelming majority of the time I preach expositionally.  Attached below is a link to a post on why to preach consecutive expositions, and the author explains each point well.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

The Cross and The Resurrection

Because of the resurrection:

The Cross is not a symbol of grief, but a symbol of joy.
The Cross is not a symbol of defeat, but a symbol of victory.
The Cross is not a symbol of despair, but a symbol of hope.

Gospel Tears

One of the great themes running through the Scriptures is joy.  The words joy, rejoice, and rejoicing are used 349 times in the Bible.  This theme of joy, as all other themes, is subservient to and draws its life from the greatest theme in the Scriptures, the redemption of unworthy men and women by God, through Christ.  It is the reflecting upon this greatest theme and understanding this greatest theme that should bring us joy.  There are occasions when our reflection and understanding bring about such a profound appreciation and joy that we are moved to tears, tears of joy and celebration and thanksgiving.

Also, in considering the greatest theme, we should be moved to compassion, compassion for the lost, the other men and women with whom we have shared that lost condition that is common to every person ever born on the planet.  In considering their lostness in light of the understanding of our salvation we are moved to tears; tears of compassion that move us to plead with God...them too, Lord, them too.  I was once as vile they, once as wicked as they, once as much a God-hater as they, once as much a sin-reveler as they; so in having mercy upon me, have mercy upon them.

May we all reflect upon our great salvation, the greatness of our Savior, and be moved to gospel tears.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Oversight of Souls

Of this church I was made a minister according
to the stewardship from God bestowed on me
for your benefit, so that I might fully carry out
the preaching of the word of God.
(And how does he fully carry out the preaching
of the word of God, that stewardship?)
We proclaim Him, admonishing every man
and teaching every man with all wisdom,
so that we may present every man complete
in Christ.  For this purpose also I labor,
striving according to His power, which
mightily works in me.
Colossians 1:25, 28-29

"If pastoral ministry is going to thrive in our churches we need to regain an understanding of the centrality of the oversight of souls.  In fact, I will argue that the heart of pastoral ministry is this attentive care of souls....The renewed emphasis on substantive preaching in many quarters is to be celebrated, but preaching is not the heart of pastoral ministry; rather, preaching is an outflow of oversight.  We do not guard souls in order to preach.  Rather we preach as one means of guarding souls.

Our central task is not managing good programs, drawing large crowds, or even delivering powerful messages ( to these I would add, even vision-casting).  Our central task is shepherding souls as they depart the City of Destruction and hazard their way toward the Celestial City.

It is so easy to forget this or to miss it altogether.  When we do, all else is skewed.  Ministry to masses can overshadow the needs of individuals, programs can replace people, and sermons can become lightweight pep talks or, even when soundly biblical, they can end up abstract lectures which fail to provide real guidance for people as they struggle with sin, self, and Satan."

Ray Van Neste
The Care for Souls:
Reconsidering Pastoral Ministry in Southern Baptists and Evangelical Contexts
Southern Baptists, Evangelicals, and the Future of Denominationalism
Pages 114-115

As preachers we can preach in order to pastor, or we can be a pastor in order to preach.  There is a substantive difference in the two, both in focus, and in outcome.  We must focus on preaching and teaching pastorally, with an outcome that is focused on the individual souls that God has put under our care.  The quality of our sermons will ultimately be manifested and measured by the completeness in Christ likeness of the souls under our charge.  So are we preaching to preach, or our we preaching to pastor?  A good question for us all.
All Italics Mine

Monday, September 12, 2011

The Great Revealer

But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage
that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper
will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you.
And He, when He comes, will convict the world
concerning sin, righteousness, and judgment;
concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me.
John 16:7-9

...but that the proclamation of Christ is the great revealer of sin, the great distinguisher of men.  When Christ is preached, the touchstone is applied, and men are convicted of being sinners and of the depths and hideousness of their sin by their exhibited attitude toward the Son of God....There is no revelation of character so accurate, so powerful, so unmistakable, so inevitable, as that wrapped up in the simple question, "What think ye of Christ?" ...And all who come not are demonstrated to be sinners, and the depth of their sin is thus revealed.

Benjamin B. Warfield
The Person and Work of the Holy Spirit
Page 20

Sunday, September 11, 2011

The Gospel-the Message of Evangelism and Discipleship

...we should recall that Paul did not write any evangelistic works.  He addressed all his writing to Christians who already believed the gospel.  He did not write to make converts, but to teach disciples who already believed.  Each church had a different set of issues.  Groups within churches had different issues.  Whether the issues involved worship, doctrine, leadership, ethics, stewardship, spiritual gifts, marriage or anything else, Paul always rooted his teaching in the gospel.  The gospel is not only the message of how to be saved, it is also the message of how to be saved.  It is the message of both evangelism and discipleship.  All Christian doctrine and practice have their basis in the gospel.  Practices and beliefs of Christians that are not rooted in the gospel are not Christian.  They may be cultural or personal, but all Christian belief and practice comes as an implication of the gospel.

Harry L. Poe
Recovering the Gospel for the Twenty-first Century
Southern Baptists, Evangelicals, and the Future of Denominationalism
Page 157

Saturday, September 10, 2011

An Established Purpose

Remember this, and be assured;
recall it to mind, you transgressors.
Remember the former things long past,
for I am God, and there is no other;
I am God, and there is no one like Me,
declaring the end from the beginning,
and from ancient times things which
have not been done, saying,
 "My purpose will be established,
and I will accomplish all My good pleasure."
Isaiah 46:8-10

If God has declared the end from the beginning,
then He must be working all things together
toward that end.