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Archive for the ‘preaching’ Category

A word for all you who attend a church this week where the Bible will be preached:

It’s Wednesday, and Sunday is coming.

Many preachers are still recovering from this last Sunday, where they poured out their hearts and souls to present the Sacred Writings – and Jesus in them (Luke 24:27) – for their church families. And now they are preparing for yet another Sunday. They are digging in, pondering the text, writing notes and scribbling pictures, praying for the Spirit to illumine their minds and apply the text to their own hearts and lives. They are looking for Jesus, and his Gospel. They are thinking of how it might apply to their people. They are assembling potential illustrations. They are doing it all in the midst of a dizzying array of other demands upon their time and office.

I wonder, how are you preparing?

So often I think people walk into the meeting place on Sunday morning, thinking that the responsibility for hearing from God in the Sacred Text is the job of the preacher. While there is some truth to that (he must study to show himself approved unto God, a workman that must not be ashamed, rightly handling the Word of Truth), the listener has a grave responsibility.

Now click over to read the rest of Matthew Molesky’s “Let the Word Dwell In You.”

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Jared writes,

“In speaking about God’s grace in raising up Samuel to be a prophet, Dale Ralph Davies writes:

If contemporary believers have a church where social activities, committee meetings, and nifty programs have not eclipsed the place of the word of God, if the teaching of the word of God stands at the heart of the church’s life, if there is a pulpit ministry where the Scriptures are clearly, accurately, and helpfully preached, then they are rich in the grace of God.

If you have such a church family, regardless of what else others might think is missing, give thanks to God for the grace of His Word!”

Many churches today have grown “word-less”–a situation which is lamentable.  Robert Godfrey points out,

Many American churches are in a mess. Theologically they are indifferent, confused, or dangerously wrong. Liturgically they are the captives of superficial fads. Morally they live lives indistinguishable from the world. They often have a lot of people, money, and activities. But are they really churches, or have they degenerated into peculiar clubs?

What has gone wrong? At the heart of the mess is a simple phenomenon: the churches seem to have lost a love for and confidence in the Word of God. They still carry Bibles and declare the authority of the Scriptures. They still have sermons based on Bible verses and still have Bible study classes. But not much of the Bible is actually read in their services. Their sermons and studies usually do not examine the Bible to see what it thinks is important for the people of God. Increasingly they treat the Bible as tidbits of poetic inspiration, of pop psychology, and of self-help advice. Congregations where the Bible is ignored or abused are in the gravest peril. Churches that depart from the Word will soon find that God has departed from them.

What solution does the Bible teach for this sad situation? The short but profound answer is given by Paul in Colossians 3:16: “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.” We need the Word to dwell in us richly so that we will know the truths that God thinks are most important and so that we will know His purposes and priorities. We need to be concerned less about “felt-needs” and more about the real needs of lost sinners as taught in the Bible.

Paul not only calls us here to have the Word dwell in us richly, but shows us what that rich experience of the Word looks like. He shows us that in three points. (Paul was a preacher, after all.)

Read the three points here.

In summary, if you have a word-centered church, express your thanks to God and your appreciation to your church leadership this week.  If you don’t, pray and discuss this with your pastors and ask God that they would see the need for living out the Colossians 3:16 model for a rich Word-dwelling-in -you ministry!

 

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”There is just one reason why I may possibly expect you to listen to me. I may expect you to listen to me if I can bring to you a message from God. If I can do that, then the very insignificance of the speaker may in a certain sense be an added inducement to you to listen to him, since it may help you to forget the speaker and attend only to the message.

It is just that I am trying to do. I am asking you to turn away from me and my opinions; I am asking you to turn away from yourself and your opinions and your troubles; and I am asking you to turn instead that you may listen to a word from God.

Where can I find that word?….Not in myself and not in you, but in an old Book that has been sealed by the seals of prejudice and unbelief but that will, if it is rediscovered again set the world aflame and that will show you, be you wise or unwise, rich or poor, the way by which you can come into communion with the living God.”

The Christian Faith in the Modern World, Gresham Machen, p12

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“When your pastors step up to the pulpit this weekend, pray for him to have power.”–Stephen Altrogge

Read how to do this at  “How To Pray for Your Pastor As He Steps into the Pulpit.”

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This excerpt was taken from the recent sermon, “God Is Most Glorified in Us When We Are Most Satisfied in Him.”

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Clint Archer:

On Sunday morning when the band stops playing, the congregation doesn’t want excuses, they want preaching. They (rightly) expect the preacher to be prepared. The sermon should be well-researched, well-illustrated, well-delivered, and well-worth-getting-up-so-darn-early-for. I’ve got no problem with that. But I do have a question for the congregation: How prepared are you for the Sunday sermon?

It is not only the preacher who has preparation to do for the sermon. When you know you are going to an all-you-can-eat buffet restaurant, you don’t gorge yourself on the leftover lasagna in the fridge a half-hour before dining out. Yes, the chef is the one with the most urgent preparation, but the customer comes ready to enjoy the meal. Sermons are best devoured by the hungry. This takes some spiritual preparation.

Ken Ramey has an excellent book called Expository Listening in which he gives a dozen tips on how to prepare for receiving the sermon at church.

Read three of these to be better prepared this Sunday.

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A hymn by John Newton (to the tune of Amazing Grace) that is appropriate to sing before the Word is preached:

Thy promise, LORD, and thy command
Have brought us here today;
And now, we humbly waiting stand
To hear what thou wilt say.

Meet us, we pray, with words of peace,
And fill our hearts with love;
That from our follies we may cease,
And henceforth faithful prove.

Now, LORD, inspire the preacher’s heart,
And teach his tongue to speak;
Food to the hungry soul impart,
And comfort to the weak.

Furnish us all with light and power
To walk in Wisdom’s ways;
So shall the benefit be ours,
And thou shalt have the praise.

HT: Challies

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