Learning and Living the God-centered life

One Biblical Doctrine at a time…

Expository preaching in postmodern America

This is from the 9 Marks website

Some people today claim that expositional preaching is irrelevant for postmodern people. “People today need narrative and conversation and dialogue and drama! They don’t need expositional preaching.”

In fact, expositional preaching is particularly relevant for postmodern people:

Expositional preaching unfolds the multi-faceted riches of Scriptural truth in a way that corresponds to the kind of diversity that postmoderns love to celebrate.
The Bible is not a set of philosophical abstractions, it’s a collection of narratives, poetry, songs, letters, history, laws, and prophesies. And the Bible is diverse not only in its literary form, but in its content: it contains bitter lament, exultant joy, romantic love, the rise and fall of empires, tragedy, deceit, oppression, rebellion, deliverance, celebration, and every imaginable facet of human life and experience. Expositional preaching should highlight this rich literary and existential diversity, which should be particularly satisfying to postmodern sensibilities.

Expositional preaching demonstrates and proves that the Word of God is not merely propositional, it’s effectual (Isa. 55:10-11).
Postmoderns say that even if there were such a thing as objective truth, we could never truly grasp it because we cannot see beyond our own perspectives. But expositional preaching rightly responds to these claims by asserting the clarity and applicability of Scripture to all its hearers. Not only that, but as a preacher faithfully expounds God’s Word, God will use it to transform people’s hearts: to bring them to submit to God, to delight in his Word, to lovingly obey him, and to humbly worship him. Expositional preaching is particularly relevant to postmoderns because it proves that God’s Word not only asserts propositions, it transforms lives.

Preaching Christ or preaching about Christ?

Here is an excellent blog article from Ray Ortlund

There is a difference between preaching Christ and preaching about Christ. Preaching Christ is presenting him so clearly and directly that the people experience the sermon this way: “It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified” (Galatians 3:1). Preaching about Christ is presenting ideas related to him. It’s a good thing to do. But preaching Christ is more profound, more daring and more helpful.

Spurgeon: Preach Christ or Go Home!

This is a post from Tony Reinke at the Gospel Coalition

The very idea of a “Christless sermon” appalled Charles Spurgeon. It was a plague he confronted repeatedly (and vividly) in his own sermons. Although sometimes overstated to make his point, his words are a healthy challenge today over 100 years after his death. Here’s a small collection of colorful quips:

“The motto of all true servants of God must be, ‘We preach Christ; and him crucified.’ A sermon without Christ in it is like a loaf of bread without any flour in it. No Christ in your sermon, sir? Then go home, and never preach again until you have something worth preaching.” [7/9/1876; sermon #2899]

“Leave Christ out? O my brethren, better leave the pulpit out altogether. If a man can preach one sermon without mentioning Christ’s name in it, it ought to be his last, certainly the last that any Christian ought to go to hear him preach.”[undated; sermon #768]

“Leave Christ out of the preaching and you shall do nothing. Only advertise it all over London, Mr. Baker, that you are making bread without flour; put it in every paper, ‘Bread without flour’ and you may soon shut up your shop, for your customers will hurry off to other tradesmen. … A sermon without Christ as its beginning, middle, and end is a mistake in conception and a crime in execution. However grand the language it will be merely much-ado-about-nothing if Christ be not there. And I mean by Christ not merely his example and the ethical precepts of his teaching, but his atoning blood, his wondrous satisfaction made for human sin, and the grand doctrine of ‘believe and live.’” [10/23/1881; sermon #1625] Read More...

John Piper stepping away from ministry for next 8 months

It would be rare to find a Christian especially in America who does not know of John Piper. The way Pastor John preaches and teaches evokes strong emotions from both those who love him and those who hate him. I started into full time ministry in 1998. In that same year I was given my first book outside of the Bible by my senior pastor Glenn Wagner and it was a John Piper book called “Desiring God.” After I read it I thought I want to know God like this man knows God. If you have never read that book then do yourself a huge favor, order it immediately and read it.

On Saturday Pastor John made a very important announcement. He is stepping away from the ministry for the next 8 months. Nancy first found this online yesterday and after reading the announcement out loud we both wept. As a pastor I understand and Nancy understands the toll that ministry can take on family and friends.

I am including the announcement the Dr. Piper gave at his church on Saturday night. It is heart warming, sincere, and very transparent regarding pastoral ministry at the most high profile level. John has always been very forthcoming about his own inadequacies in ministry and in this audio clip he doesn’t pull any punches. Allow me to encourage you to listen and pray for this man who God has chosen to use in our time not unlike He used Jonathan Edwards in the 18th Century. Read More...

"Getting used to the Dark"

The title of this blog is a great sermon by Vance Havner. Many of you have heard me refer to Vance Havner a number of different times over the past 18 months. Karen Mitchell in our class told me how much she loves to hear Vance Havner preach. He is with the Lord now, but he is known for the number of “one liners” that he uttered during the ministry years.

I have prepared a short preview of the audio version of “Getting used to the Dark.”

Also I have included some of the famous quotes from this wonderful man of God.

“When the tide gets low every shrimp has its own puddle”

I'm tired of hearing sin called sickness and alcoholism a disease. It is the only disease I know of that we're spending hundreds of millions of dollars a year to spread. Read More...