For centuries, Christians have considered the preaching of God’s Word to be one of the primary means of grace. In other words, it is one of the main things God uses not only to save, but to grow and sanctify His people. Does the way we view, prepare for, and listen to preaching reflect this truth? If we really believe that preaching is one of the primary tools God uses to fashion, guide, and grow us, what practices regarding sermon-listening should we develop? I’d like to offer seven.Continue reading “Seven Ways to Get More Out of Sunday Sermons”
In January, I started studying and writing on the Sermon on the Mount. A family wide bout of Covid-19 delayed my study for a little bit. But alas, God has allowed me to return to it! This week I want to share something I read from Martyn Lloyd-Jones on the Sermon. I am summarizing his comments under the title, “Four Reasons the Sermon on the Mount is Relevant Today.” Here they are:
1. Jesus died to enable us to live the Sermon on the Mount.
As I argued in my previous blog, the Sermon on the Mount is a description of the Christian life. Thus, Jesus died for us to be able to live out the principles of the Sermon. He died to “purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works” (Titus 2:14). The principles contained in the Sermon are a part of these “good works.” In fact, God has planned from eternity past for us to walk in them (Eph 2:10). Because of Jesus’ death and the new life it has brought us, we can be zealous for doing the good works He expounds in the SermonContinue reading “Four Reasons the Sermon on the Mount is Relevant Today”
Introduction and Purpose
Allan Moseley’s From the Study to the Pulpit seeks to provide a comprehensive methodology for preaching and teaching the Old Testament. In the opening pages of his book, Moseley quotes Haddon Robinson on the need for such a method, “Clear, relevant biblical exposition does not take place Sunday by Sunday by either intuition or accident. Good expositors have methods for their study” (14). Moseley successfully provides anyone teaching the Old Testament with a such a method. This method aims to challenge readers to grow in exegetical proficiency while also providing a simple, usable process that they can use right away. The author succeeds in this task, blessing the reader with trustworthy manual backed by decades of teaching and preaching the Old Testament. If followed, Moseley’s method is sure to facilitate clear, relevant, and biblical teaching that pleases God and faithfully represents His Word.
I had the privilege of preaching the Good Friday sermon at our home church in Raleigh this year. When I was asked to preach, I was told that I would be continuing a series of the last seven words of Jesus, and the words that I would preach would be the words “I thirst” recorded in John 19:28. At first glance, I wondered how I could preach an entire sermon on these words. But as I continued to study them, I wondered how I could preach only one sermon on these words! What I found as I studied made this my favorite sermon I’ve preached to date. I wanted to share it here as well as my sermon transcript in case anyone would rather read it. However, please be aware that I try to write my manuscripts as I will preach them, so the verbiage/writing style may not be top-notch English!
[Transcript: “I Thirst”; John 19:28-29]
If you knew you had just a few hours left to live, who would you want to talk to, and what words would you say? I would assume that most of us would want to speak to those we love, and we would want to offer words that express our love, that give comfort, and maybe even direction. When people have this opportunity- to think through and speak their “last words,” it can have a great impact. These words are remembered and cherished by those who hear them. Yet they also have the effect of revealing the heart of the person speaking them- who they love, what their hopes and fears are, whether they are content, joyful, or afraid.
In The Supremacy of God in Preaching, John Piper calls preachers to make displaying the glory and majesty of God the ultimate goal of their pulpit ministry, “The goal of preaching is the glory of God in the glad submission of his people” (44). He accomplishes this by presenting the biblical foundation for such a goal (1 Peter 4:10-11, “in order that in everything God may be glorified in Jesus Christ,”) and using Jonathan Edwards as an illustration of such preaching. The rest of the book answers how to preach the supremacy of God. First, Piper encourages preachers to recognize the gravity of preaching and to pursue joy in it. He then considers the ministry of Jonathan Edwards, encouraging pastors to follow his example in keeping God central through intimacy in worship, submitting to God through faith in His sovereignty, making God supreme through ten helpful suggestions on preaching (most impactful noted below). He concludes by looking back over three decades of ministry and considering how he’s grown in his appreciation of Edwards’ view of Christ and Calvin’s resolve to keep preaching “tethered to the Bible.” Near the end of the book, he lists thirty reasons why it is a great thing to be a pastor, a riveting and awe-inspiring list that is sure to stir the heart of anyone who is preparing for the task of shepherding God’s people.