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Category Archives: Preaching

Preaching the Word – Entry One

Last Wednesday I began a course offered in our local church for preaching. I am taking this course to be equipped forteaching_preaching_church_teachers preaching and teaching prisoners, which is a ministry I am involved with. Through this course I will be studying expository preaching, which is preaching and teaching God’s word using a verse by verse format. I know there is more to it than that, and I will learn what it is. I plan to use this blog to post entries surrounding my equipping process. Lord willing I will be providing weekly posts. This course is being offered as part of the ongoing Institute for Biblical Studies (IBS) with my local church.

I have been part of a prison ministry for our local church, Omaha Bible Church, for two years now. The Lord has been directing me to me to not only look for family care opportunities with prisoner families but to go inside and participate in the monthly worship services our ministry does. As part of our ministry, we have a few men meeting regularly with prisoners who desire to be mentored and taught about Jesus Christ through God’s word. This is becoming a part of the ministry I desire to be a part of. God has been shaping my heart or desire for this after my first few visits for worship services inside the prison. I pray that God will use this course to strengthen me in proclaiming Jesus Christ through scriptures. As Paul wrote to Timothy:

1 I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: 2 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. 3 For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, 4 and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. 5 As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. (2 Timothy 4:1-5 ESV)

I also pray that through this equipping, God will be sanctifying me for His service. I am already learning through my reading assignments what a weighty responsibility preachers and teachers have in teaching God’s word. Our first book is “Preaching: How To Preach Biblically” by John MacArthur and Master’s Seminary Faculty. I have a high respect for pastor John MacArthur and his knowledge for biblical preaching. I also have a high respect for our senior pastor Patrick Abendroth who is teaching us in the preaching class. Please pray for us all.

Soli Deo Gloria

 

Puritans and preaching – Part 3

This morning as I read through chapter 4, “The Demands of Preaching”, from the book “Light and Heat : the Puritan light-and-heatView of Preaching” by R. Bruce Bickel, I came across some great tidbits. The Puritan preacher viewed his vocation as a demanding and convicting vocation. The demands being a natural result of their calling, their knowledge of who God is, and the office He had sovereignly given them. The Puritan view of God and His church gave them the awesome judgment that an unfaithful servant did more harm than good to the church.

With this high view and mindset of preaching to one’s own heart, the Puritan Richard Baxter proceeded to write his celebrated work, “The Reformed Pastor”. Concerning the pastor himself he wrote:

Take heed to yourselves, lest you should be void of that saving grace of God, which you offer to others, and be stranger to the effectual workings of that gospel which you preach . . .  Many a preacher is now in hell, that hath a hundred times called upon his hearers to use the utmost care and diligence to escape it. . . . Believe it, brethren, God never saved any man for being a preacher; but because he was a justified, santified man, and consequently faithful in his master’s work. Take heed therefore, to yourselves first, that you be that which you persuade your hearers to be.

Charles Spurgeon, one of the last of the pure Puritan preachers, charged the members of the Pastor’s College, he founded or the purpose of equipping preachers, with this following exhortion:

If we are to pursue our holy calling with success, we need to be better men. Brethren, I do not depreciate you, far from it. But, personally, I feel that, as the times grow sterner, I must cry to God for more grace, that I may be more able to cope with them. Brethren, let it be a main business with us to ourselves more holy, more gracious, and therefore better fitted for our work. Let us not judge ourselves by others, and say, with deadening self-complacency, “We are getting on well as compared with our brethren.” Let us measure ourselves by our Master, and not by our fellow-servants: then pride will be impossible, but hopefulness will be natural.

I’d like to conclude with something I have only learned myself over the past few years. I learned this from my pastor and it was also the character mark of the Puritans as well.

One who did not preach to his own heart could not preach effectively to others.

and as Richard Baxter also has stated:

If the work of the Lord be not soundly done upon your own hearts, how can you expect that he bless you labours for the effecting of ot in others?

Soli Deo Gloria!

 

Preaching tips from Dr. Ruth?

I heard about the sermon below on Way of the Master Radio during a conversation between Dr. Phil Johnson and Todd Friel. Where’s the gospel? I see self help and therapy. I wonder how much longer this gimmicky, sensationalistic, babble will continue from the pulpit? I pray that it is close to running it’s course. I also pray for God to lead folks away from this stuff and into a local church that preaches the gospel.

 

Puritans and preaching – Part 2

I am continuing through my reading / study of “Light and Heat : the Puritans View of Preaching” by R. Bruce Bickel. While reading through the chapter titled “The Direction of Preaching” I found some more gems that I wanted to share.

In order to understand the direction the Puritan view had for preaching Bickel brings to light the view the Puritan preachers had of themselves. Taken from the Horton Davies book “The Worship of the English Puritans“,

They viewed themselves as men sovereignly appointed by God to declare a message that was not their own, but a message that had already been given by God Himself in the pages of sacred writ.

Under such conviction, no wonder a Puritan preacher mounted the steps of his pulpit as if he were Moses ascending the mountain of Sinai.

Now that is what I call a high view of preaching. Not that they highly viewed themselves but their calling.

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Short selling the righteousness of Christ

While studying through Romans chapter 3 in our Sunday morning sermon yesterday, Pastor Pat reminds us what justification is and is not. I think many of us who have been a teacher or learner through any evangelical church has heard the phrase definition offered for the justification believers receive at salvation. The phrase I am referring to is justification = just as if I had never sinned. But when we provide this definition we are in fact selling short, and I mean way short, the righteousness of Christ in our justification. You see, when we are saved by God’s grace, we are declared righteous by God. The only way a righteous and just God can declare the sinner righteous is by imputing the righteousness of Christ on the sinner. In other words, the sinless and righteous life Christ lived for us on this earth was imputed, or attached to the sinner when by God’s grace he believes. That, my friend, is the only justification that satisfies a righteous God. So when we say that justification means that it’s as if we hadn’t sinned, that only gives us a clean slate and short sells the righteousness of Jesus Christ. But when we look at the correct meaning for righteous justification we again are focused on Christ and his righteousness and what he accomplished on the cross. Amen?

Soli Deo Gloria!

Divine Righteousness and the Cross (Romans 3:21-31)

 

Puritans and preaching

I am currently reading through a couple of books. One of them is titled “Light and Heat: The Puritan View of the Pulpit” by Dr. R. Bruce Bickel. If you have visited this blog site before you might observe that I love to quote the Puritans. Today I found a wonderful quote by the Puritan Thomas Watson about the importance of hearing God’s word. Here it is:

it was by the ear, by our first parents listening to the serpent, that we lost paradise; and it is by the ear, by hearing of the Word, that we get to heaven. ‘Hear, and your souls shall live.’ (Isaiah 55:3)

This book has everything to do with the importance given by the Puitans to the preaching of God’s word and it’s centrality for worship. I’m sure this is only the beginning of a series of posts related to this book. You may want to check back and see more nuggets from the Puritans.

Soli Deo Gloria

 
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Posted by on October 8, 2008 in God's word, Preaching, Puritan, Thomas Watson

 

Geeks and Romans

I don’t usually blog about work but I wanted to write about something God has orchestrated in my professional life. I work as a technical consultant for a local consulting firm here in Omaha. Just a couple of months ago I was doing a gig for one of our clients who is located in the heart of of downtown Omaha. I was traveling over an hour each way to do this gig. I also found myself doing basically the same kind of analyst work I’ve been doing for the past several years which is fine, but the travel each day was a killer. To shorten a somewhat long story I would just like to say that God ended that contract. He has also put me onto a project with some other consultants in our firm. I am only traveling half the distance for work and I am working with a dear friend who is a Christ follower, and with some other folks who have professional skills I dearly want to learn. The project will last a couple of years and I will be getting some wonderful hands on experience using development tools such as Microsoft Visual Studio 2008, SQL Server 2005 Database, and C# (Sharp).Net. Included with these tools I will be learning about Reporting Services in the .Net framework, LINQ which stands for Language Integrated Query which is used to easily hook queried data from a database into your code, and AJAX which is a group of interrelated techniques used for creating interactive web applications. With these techniques you can retrieve data from the web server in the background without interfering with the behavior of the existing web page. Needless to say I am extremely excited. I am giving all the glory to God. Ok, enough of the geeks stuff, now for some Romans.

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