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October 18, 2022 4:00 am
Pastor's job is not simply to give an inch.
Additional speed to make us feel good about ourselves or to deliver a biblical monologue today on Truth for Life. Alastair Begg exhorts pastors to return to genuine expository preaching. He explains how this approach to teaching God's word benefits both the pastor and the congregation.
Not only does expository preaching begin with attacks and seek to fuse the two horizon expository preaching encourages the listener to understand why off first century letter to the church in Corinth could ever be relevant to a 21st-century congregation living in Cleveland because some of them assume the message is irrelevant. The flipside of that, the concern though is that there are individuals who regard the message as immediately relevant, not irrelevant but immediately relevant and this is the kind of listener who wants to move immediately to application these people in the Bible says you want me to. That is to say, I well I thank you for as for reading that passage of hardly finish reading the passage as the leader and they say what this means to me is say well with all due respect, why don't you just go get yourself another cup of coffee and hold that thought, and maybe for the rest of your life because were not remotely interested in what it means to you.
Not yet. We maybe in a minute but we are not interested in what it means to me until we have discovered what it means because it is only once we know what it means, then we can make any application as to what it might mean to me without having established and is the role of the pastor and the teacher without having established the meaning of the text we didn't allow our people or ourselves immediately to jump off and make application to our circumstances, the rush to personalize the text removed from the necessary understanding of what the passage means in its original context is a real is it is a real dilemma. But there are all kinds of illustrations of Emily do it all the time. In Romans 828% increase in glorious message on Romans 828 that in there any reference to verse 27 of verse 29 so the expositor what were saying is that the expositor needs to be under the control of the Bible. When you read the Westminster directory for public worship. As I'm sure you are familiar conflicts, you will discover that this is actually the third of three principles of faithful exposition of the Westminster directory lays down. These are the three actually won the matter we preach should be true that is. In light of general doctrines of Scripture to. It should be. The truth contained in the text or passage.
We are expounding and thirdly and here's the reason for mentioning this. It should be the truth, preached under the control of the rest of Scripture. Note brethren when we take this seriously, then we will be at least seeking to ensure that our pool puts do not afford a place for theorizing and speculation or for sloganeering and manipulation or for tall stories and emotionalism in an earlier era in Scotland when great pains were taken to abide by these principles that I just iterated the impact was obvious the knowledge of the Bible possessed by ordinary congregations in earlier generations in Scotland was a significant knowledge in light of all recorded last evening from Alexander. He said the congregations listens attentively carry their Bible turned it off and even for myself being born in the early 50s. Although I was beyond that time.
I still have a vivid recollection of the Bible never being read in my hearing in the gathering of God's people without either my father and my mother turning to and from my very very earliest years to see my father's finger tracing the line across the text as the pastor read the passage of Scripture for the day. I was actually taking it all in. Probably not as probably going like this that he never ever deviated from it he still said son Iver look here as he never done that I couldn't tell you that if you never done that I would know how important it is even just underscoring the importance of the exposition of the Bible we see will never have the dads in our congregations. Tracking the text with her fingers.
Unless there is a need for them to track the text with her fingers because we are committed to working through the Bible in a way that is exposition. Other compelling arguments as to why genuine expository preaching needs to be risk rediscovered and faithfully practiced in our day. I think so number one and this is so obvious because we said so many times already. It gives glory to God alone. Expositor preaching gives glory to God which are to be the ultimate end of all we do this kind of preaching is going to be markedly different from one in which sermons constantly find their origin in the felt needs of the people.
Secondly, it makes the preacher study the Bible. Expositor preaching demands of the preacher become a student of the word of God. I hope none of us are going to be guilty of putting together a few sermons and then I once we've exhausted the moving on to some other congregation and blessing them with the pathetic offerings that we just annoyed. Our previous congregation with your member Spurgeon said keep all your old sermons to weep over getting your sermons are good, some evening when you don't have much to do just say your wife a honey while you sit down for half an hour. Let me read you one of my old sermons will never do exposition, lest we become students of the Bible when we are committed to the systematic and consecutive exposition of the Scripture that will never come to an end of our task. If were not learning were not growing. If were stuck we can be certain that our people are stuck. It is absolutely vital that we come to the Bible with a spirit of discovery that we come looking for the surprises in the passage that we come if you like agnostic to the text, not immediately assuming that we understand everything just because we spent time in the passage before is one of the great dangers for us.
For example, the other evening I tried to respond to Timothy to and I went through two Timothy two versus 1 to 6. The metaphors they are the soldier, the athlete, the farmer and then I came to verse seven, where Paul says reflect on what I'm saying for the Lord will give you insight into all of this and I think I said you notice the little bridge that is here in verse seven.
It's good to reflect on these things we really don't reflect on things quite enough these days, and of the Lord gives you insight. Now let's go to verse eight. When I was coming back on the plane I was reading notes from a seminar on preaching that I had attended some years ago and finally enough, I found a little piece on two Timothy 27 and I had written down on two lines in my notes. Two Timothy 27 they said reflect on what I'm saying and then underneath it. It had it written for the Lord will give you insight into all of this in an individual teaching the seminar had pointed out that reflect on what I'm saying is our part. The Lord will give you insight into all of this is God's part. Here, then pointed out that it is absolutely essential that both parts are in place. If we fall down in emphasis only on the first part reflect on what I'm saying and the danger is that we become rationalists if we fall down in the second part which is the Lord will give you insight into all of this in the dangers we become fanatics said let's make sure that we are doing our part which is to reflect on what the world is saying and then let us remember that in all of our reflection. It is God who gives us insight into all of this and let's teach our people to do the same. I said to myself, and I thought that I was expounding second Timothy chapter 2 with passing note of and is good for us to reflect see what I'm saying is this what we already know that it will go back to our Bibles again and again again on our knees and without without with our minds open and the Lord will give us insight into all these things and that there are fresh discoveries for us to make one. I use a hymnbook a lot in my private devotions because I good at saying I'm not rotten saying, but I love I love the hymnody and so a line or two from the hymn, I want to make my own will teach me, Lord, that I may teach the precious things that Dalston part and wing my words, that they may reach the hidden depths of many heart see when I have that notion in your mind all the time. I know I must teach me, Lord, that I may teach the hidden things that Dalston part of the Lord will give an insight into all of this and wing my words, that they may reach the hidden depths of many heart see the first heart that God needs to reach is our heart right there is no benefit to our people from expository preaching unless we ourselves are impacted by the Scripture. We are preparing to preach, it is imperative not only that we are dealing with the biblical text, but that we are being dealt with by the biblical text that we are personally being changed by it. John owing speaking of this necessity said a man only preaches a sermon well to others. He is first preached it to himself if he does not thrive on the food he prepares, he will not be skilled at making it appetizing for others. If the word does not dwell in power in eyes. It will not pass in power from us. Unless is making a powerful impact upon us and what I'm suggesting to you is that expository preaching the systematic consecutive exposition of the Scriptures not only begins with God and his glory. But it also makes us students of the Bible. It also thirdly helps the congregation.
It enables the congregation to learn the Bible in the most obvious and natural way so that our congregation begin to understand the reason the thing was put down in sentences and paragraphs, and so on is so that they may be able understand we would expect the University professor to teach from a textbook on human anatomy by picking out parts of sentences at random and using them for his lecture. Rather, we would anticipate that he would work through the material in an orderly fashion so that his students come to an understanding of how all the pieces of the anatomy fit together as you so obvious is not really there are many analogies mean. Think of in the realm of sports that the interrelated nature of plays and again in the not isolated from one another.
One constituent element has to be shown how it relates to all the others. Otherwise, people may be able to call all kinds of plays but we will go off in all kinds of directions.
Many men are capable of delivering excellent talks producing touching illustrations, altering steering expectations, all based on scriptural material, but as expositors of Scripture that actually an effective system urgent to the students. Again, I believe the remark is to well-rounded that if you attend to a lecture on astronomy or geology during a short course, you will obtain a tolerably clear view of the system, but if you listen not only for 12 months, but for 12 years to the common run of preachers you will not arrive at anything like an idea of their system of theology going on is the average business gathering within a short time, you'll understand where the fellas coming from and what is on about people can sit under the teaching the Bible and they are not really making headway at all. I did expositional preaching ought to enable our congregations by my preaching by your preaching. We either help our people.
Or we hinder our people and the task of interpreting Scripture. The next benefit is it immense it demands treatment of the entire Bible demands treatment of the entire Bible.
Expository preaching prevents the preacher from avoiding difficult passages or from dwelling on his favorite texts. This is no small matter on your computer. You have a screensaver right whenever there's been an absence of activity for any significant length of time, it automatically defaults to one particular image for mine is a little airplane was up and down goes off the screen comes back and all around, and anyone coming to my rooms as well as look to that in a long while and then it flips around it automatically defaults in a similar fashion. When we as preachers have not been active in the systematic study of the Bible. We will default to our pet passages to save our faces. We will default to our pet issues with his higher life teaching or an emphasis on the risen life of Christ.
Some of the default into flights of eschatological fancy are guaranteed to intrigue, but seldom managed to instruct whatever the emphasis may be it will in time become in overemphasis and the congregation will come to expect only that for which the preacher has become known and so by such a methodology. Congregations are denied the opportunity to wrestle.
For example, with the mind stretching stole stirring doctrine of election, others of never examine the issue of spiritual gifts have never managed to consider controversial subjects like homosexuality. The role of women on the future of Israel. And if you and I will commit ourselves to exposition of Scripture that is systematic in his pattern than we want.
We want all our congregations and it forces us to deal with the whole Bible. And the corollary to that is that it provides a balanced diet. Expository preaching assures the congregation of enjoying a balanced diet.
This is just the reverse of the previous point is exposition which constantly affirms the priority in the sufficiency of the text and when we do that we prevent imbalances from taking place, not to the teaching of the Bible should like variety is an inherent variety in the Bible itself and expositional preaching didn't be limited to exhaustive and exhausting studies through books of the Bible can still be expository while doing character studies or series on the parables are in Luke or even in key Christian doctrines in them just one other thing of great value of expository preaching for me is that it eliminates Saturday night fever. Expository preaching liberates the preacher from the pressure of last-minute preparation on Saturday night our congregations at the same time don't approach the church asking themselves.
I wonder what the minister will preach about today and at the same time the pastor is free from facing the same question. I wonder what I will preach about today and facing with painful relentless regularity from a purely pragmatic perspective. That alone is enough to convince me of the value of expository preaching. If there were no other reason at all. I would still do it for that reason as a pragmatist I would do it and I am in all of the individuals who tell me that Sunday after Sunday after Sunday to start all over again in the late they put their head down and and determine just where it is there going next week is good. Incidentally, to take breaks in the course of series of expositions, particularly if there peculiarly long every so often to interrupt a series and address something else still in and expositional wave adjuster change the tone a little something happens that that turns the nation in a particular direction. We may choose to deal with that at my my approach to things is that when the bird flies into the room and the whole the whole congregation goes to the bird, then you better include the burden your proclamation so that there is a flexibility that we possess were not slaves to our systems.
That is very different however from the familiar picture of a pastor in his study on a Saturday evening with his hero. The sample surrounded by balls of paper, each of which represents a sermon idea the refuse to be born you had a classic thing that all of us have cut out from leadership magazine years ago where you got that picture of the man standing forward of the podium and he said a number now waiting to hear with great anticipation what our dear brother back has upon his heart from God. We are so faithfully prepared to deliver to us today and it comes back in the guise that is pad in front of them and he's got all these various sermon titles that he still scribbling on things like will dogs be in heaven. It is not escrow that is not southerly how many electoral others know that nontargeted, who are the hundred 44,000 is going out a lot and any friendlier.
None of the clues during the riser were greatly waiting for the call to speak to us through the thick and the poor so there's no where is while you know Spurgeon can perilously close to that in some prison. Spurgeon to me.
Still, I must confess my text selection is a very great embarrassment. I confess that I frequently sit hour after hour praying and waiting for the subject and that this is the main part of my study.
If you've been there you know what a tyranny that is why don't know if I can. I don't know if I can and I don't if I can preach that I know if I can preach that were not doing any study of the Bible were waiting for some you know divine effusion that will tell is that this passage is right so you know you've been through 64. The books of the Bible and it still hasn't happened and you know that if it doesn't happen in the next two, and your hope in that event happened in Revelation you want your will have to go back and start in Genesis again or maybe you want it all ran no illegally given end of the Lord move. My heart just last evening. Love your heart she removed your house.
That is the main part of my study March hard labor. Have I spent in manipulating topics. Spurgeon ruminating upon points of doctrine, making skeletons out of versus and then burying every one of them in the catacombs of oblivion, which is which is where a bunch of our material should be incidentally ceiling on on all of our leagues of broken water until I see the red lights and make seal director. The desired haven genius that he could describe his confusion is pointing to where he can make even following up sound like a son sound like something you want to do you know I believe that almost any Saturday in my life. I make enough lines of sermons if I felt the liberty to preach them to last me for a month but I know more dear to use them than an honest manner would run to shore a carnival of contraband goods. Note Spurgeon was unique, probably a genius. So were not going to allow his pattern to overturn the points that we've made at least I hope not.
In this, though. Let us remind ourselves of this that God does not come upon methods but he comes upon man and even when our methods may not give the appearance of being the best or the wisest. He may still come upon us for the glory of his name for the good of his people. I've often imagine that.
I think some of you would probably concur with this.
I've often imagine what it would have been like to be able to turn to volumes of Spurgeon's consecutive exposition rather than to the volumes of the collected sermons that he is left to us as rich as they are. I wish actually that somebody could have got to Spurgeon and sent them. Hey, you know maybe what you want to do is just try the book of James and do that for the next week while sit up into the early hours of Sunday morning wondering what is God's word for the moment it is all gone. Swart and this is the moment so bring it to bear. Spurgeon actually will close here serves as a reminder to us the best of men are men at best and that there is only been one perfect preacher ever.
That was Jesus himself did preaching will glorify God and point people back to all of his work, even the difficult parts listing to Truth for Life that is Alister Bragg addressing the importance of expository preaching. This month is pastor appreciation month and we have compiled for you, an assortment of books and studies articles that will help pastors with Christ centered preaching along with many of the challenges pastor space in church leadership. Visit Truth for Life.org/pastor to browse through our recommended resources that we have curated specifically for you.
Most of us love receiving gifts, but it's easy for us to forget that God is ultimately the giver of all good gifts and we can fail to correct our gratitude appropriately to him what the book we want to recommend to you today helps us acknowledge this more fully. It's called the grumbly roots guide to giving thanks the grumbly roots guide is a great book to help you refocus and redirect your thankfulness to God not only for what he provide support for who he is requester copy of the book, the grumbly roots guide to giving thanks when you give a firstname.lastname@example.org/donate. I'm Bob Lapine. We've learned about the importance of expository preaching today.
So how do we get people to listen to that kind of preaching. Alister Bragg has some practical pointers tomorrow.
The Bible teaching of Alister Bragg is furnished by truthfully with the wording is for living