Archive for March, 2011

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Preach Judges! How?

March 31, 2011

I’m preaching through Judges.

It is brutal, bloody, and beautifully illustrative of God’s mercy.

My study has been the setting for slow sweaty work, as I have grappled with both the doctrine and application of each text. It has been perplexing at times: “How in the world do I preach this properly?”

An article by Steve Mathewson has been especially helpful to me.  In Preaching The Gospel In Judges, he explores how we should exposit judges in a Christ-centred way. I’ve found his three questions particularly useful:

1. What does this story proclaim about God and his relationship with his people?

2. How does this theological message connect with the Bible’s larger story or meta-narrative?

3. What admonition or exhortation does this story offer?

Thank you Matthewson.

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The Secret to Preaching Old Testament

March 30, 2011

Dale Ralph Davis has a great technique for producing better Old Testament expositions:

I think the best process is for a guy to have a fascination with OT texts and a determination to preach them.

Read his whole interview at The Gospel Coalition.

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Simeon’s Sweat Over Sermons

March 24, 2011

This is bound to make some of you preachers feel better. About Charles Simeon’s sermon prep:

“Few [sermons] cost him less than twelve hours of study – many twice that time: and some several days. He once told the writer that he had recomposed the plan of one discourse thirty times.”

(Bishop Daniel Wilson on Charles Simeon, in Among God’s Giants, J.I Packer, p 371)

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Two Questions

March 23, 2011

1) How regularly do we pray that God will raise up preachers of His Word?

2) What is the proportion between our complaining about preaching standards, and petitioning the Lord of harvest about gospel-workers?

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Hell Hesitant – Changing Attitudes in the UK

March 22, 2011

In light of the late discussion about Rob Bell’s new book, it is interesting to observe changing views among confessing Christians in the UK.  The Evangelical Alliance surveyed 17,000 people at various Christian festivals in the UK. They compiled the results in a report called 21st century Evangelicals.

Some of the results?

Only 54% of those consulted believe that the Bible, in its original manuscript, is without error. Only 59% believe that homosexual actions are always wrong. 51% think that women should be eligible for all roles within the church. And only 37% still believe that hell is a place where those condemned will suffer eternally. This last topic was the issue on which, the report said, ‘there is the greatest uncertainty’.

The shift away from Scripture is, to say the least, concerning. It seems that any doctrines we 21st century folk are uncomfortable with can be jettisoned from our statements of faith at a moment’s notice. The Bible is being politely, but umistakeably,  ignored.

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Alastair On Preaching

March 21, 2011

Alastair Begg was recently interviewed about his preaching.

A couple of stand out quotes:

‘There is a whole approach to homiletics that is leading people into the ditch because it gets people to think in such compartmentalized categories in relation to explanation, illustration, and application—that they buy books on sermon illustrations and research stories as hooks—spending more time on these things than looking closely at their Bibles or the world around them.’

‘Growing up, I primarily heard sermons from the Old Testament that were character studies that served as a platform for moralism. These kinds of sermon, for example, looked at Joshua and said, “You see, Joshua wasn’t afraid, so we shouldn’t be either”—without any connections made to the gospel. Moralism always shines the spotlight on human action, rather than on God’s grace.’

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So, Why Can’t Johnny Preach?

March 21, 2011

Peter Mead reviews Why Johnny Can’t Preach.

A few problems with many preachers today, according to T David Gordon:

True preaching requires close examination and study of a quality text, something non-readers have no experience of today.  People don’t study classical languages.  They don’t read literature.  They aren’t equipped to really study a text.   People read for content, but don’t learn to look at how a text communicates.

True preaching requires careful composition.  But people don’t write letters anymore.  They talk on the phone. Instead of careful composition, we live in a day of easy and cheap talk.

True preaching requires a sensibility of the significant.  But the only way to watch hours of television is to turn off such sensibility, so most do.

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