January 27, 2011

What is expositional preaching?


Over the past few years, I have come to appreciate hearing the Word of God preached in an expository fashion.  There is a great depth and richness that is brought forth by the pastor who has spent a considerable amount of time studying the text, so that preaching the sermon will help feed the hungry souls that look forward to hearing the sermon each week.

Yet, the content of sermons today, by many popular televangelists, is similarly described by Haddon Robinson, in his book, Biblical Preaching, The Development and Delivery of Expository Messages:

"One common recipe found in homiletical cookbooks reads something like this: "Take several theological or moral platitudes, mix with equal parts of 'dedication,' 'evangelism,' or 'stewardship,' add several 'kingdoms' or 'the Bible says,' stir in a selection of stories, add 'salvation' to taste.  Serve hot on a bed of Scripture verses."  Such sermons not only leave a congregation undernourished, but they also starve the preachers."" (pgs 26, 27)
Many of the popular televangelists of today are master chefs of these types of cookbook-type sermons.  Spend some time listening to what they are really saying, see if it lines up with Scripture and I'm not just talking about acknowledging that they've used the correct book, chapter and verse either.  It has to line up with Scripture and more importantly, be used in its context, otherwise, it is considered false teaching.

And yet the souls of people who hear these televangelists each week are still left undernourished because of a lack of biblical, theological and doctrinal substance in their sermons.

A common problem that many people who don't go to church and maybe even among some Christians too, they often complain about not being able to understand what the Bible says or even understanding what a passage of Scripture means.

Well, my suggestion would be to first examine whether or not the sermon you are hearing each week is an exposition of Scripture, or a cookbook set of instructions.

January 25, 2011

Has God completely wiped away your sin?


The answer to this question is something that many people ask and those that feel their sin is unforgiveable, Scripture reveals otherwise and this truly is good news to the one who hears and understands this.

This past Sunday night at First Assembly of God in Brookfield, Pastor Josh Van Geersdaele preached a very convicting, yet challenging sermon regarding prayer and maintaining a consistent and healthy prayer life.

His sermon focused on a passage from Isaiah 43:22-26 and as he was preaching, Pastor Josh read Isaiah 43:25, which says, "I, I am he who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins."

This is an all too familiar verse and one that many Christians return to, when they have fallen in sin and feel the guilt and shame of their selfishness and dishonor they have brought to God.

They feel that whatever the sin may be just could not be forgotten by God, despite the explicit words that God "will not remember your sins."

Sin is an offense to God and throughout the Bible it is recognized as such.  It's ugly.  It reveals how depraved our lives truly as it reflects one thing and one thing only: disobedience.  Disobedience to authority and specifically, disobedience to God's authority over a person's life.

I've been there, where I've sinned against God and wondered how could He forgive me, for my selfishness and disobedience to Him?

How could I receive God's forgiveness when I have not made my life a living sacrifice to the Lord. When I have not walked in the Spirit, but rather in the flesh.

I have even expressed, like many others have too, "I don't deserve to be forgiven.  God won't forget this one that I've done, no, not this one, not this time."

When Pastor Josh mentioned this verse in Isaiah, I looked up what "blots out" means in Hebrew.

January 23, 2011

The Bare Reading of Scripture is Not Enough

While preparing my notes to teach our Sunday School class, I read this statement from Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary regarding Acts 13:14-31.

I thought it was quite appropriate, as a reminder to me as the teacher for this class and it also applied as much to those pastors that preach bible expositions each week at church.
When we come together to worship God, we must do it, not only by prayer and praise, but by the reading and hearing of the word of God. The bare reading of the Scriptures in public assemblies is not enough; they should be expounded, and the people exhorted out of them. This is helping people in doing that which is necessary to make the word profitable, to apply it to themselves.
The church needs to hear more and better sermon expositions of the Bible, from anyone who teaches or preaches each week.  By doing so, this will strengthen the believer's knowledge of the Scriptures, among the body of Christ as well as strengthen a person's ability to witness to others who hear the Gospel proclaimed. 

I have no doubt that preaching and teaching the Bible through expository sermons will be profitable in their lives as it is applied to themselves, as Matthew Henry has stated.

I cannot imagine a more profitable way for people in a congregation to learn how to understand the meaning of the Bible, than by having it exposited to them on a weekly basis, i.e., explained in a manner that enhances one's understanding of Scripture.

For example, last week in my expository preaching class, my professor gave us a quick example of this from Genesis 22:2, where Abraham was going to sacrifice his son, Isaac.

January 8, 2011

What the World Needs


Photo # 80-G-49132 Chaplain Joseph O'Callahan ministers to an injured
man aboard the USS Franklin, 1945
Belonging to Christ should create in us a sense of responsibility.  His glory should be our concern.  We are His image in the world.  An American chaplain in the Civil War asked a wounded soldier, "Would you like me to read you something from the Bible?"  The soldier said, "I'm so thirsty, I'd rather have a drink of water."  After he had drunk it he said, "Could you put something under my head?"  The chaplain took off his overcoat, rolled it up, and placed it under the man's head as a pillow.  "Now," said the soldier, "if I had something over me. I'm so cold."  The chaplain took off his jacket and covered the man.  Then the wounded man said, "For God's sake, man, if there's anything in that Book that makes a man do for another what you've done for me, let me hear it!"  Isn't that what the world needs today-Christians who exemplify Christ?


Reference

Meyers, R. (2006). e-Sword. The sword of the Lord with an electronic edge (Verson 7.8) [Computer software].



January 5, 2011

Stealing & God's Name at The Home Depot


Have you ever been surprised by some of the stupidest things people do when it comes to stealing something? Sometimes, their behavior is just astounding to see and hear what they have attempted to do, thinking they won’t get away with their crime.

Well, I have been working part-time at The Home Depot in Danbury, CT and in the early summer of 2009, a failed attempt by a Bonnie & Clyde team yielded a recovery of about $1,500 worth of heavy duty Hilti brand tools, these two tried to take without paying.

In the early spring of 2010, a tag team of two men walked out of the store with an $800 barbecue grill!  This happened in the early morning too, when there weren't very many people working near the front entrance of the store.

One of the store associates saw these two men leaving the store and thought they were acting a bit suspicious pushing the grill to their car. When she had asked a few of the cashiers in the store if anyone had just sold a grill, they all said no. She was then dismayed by the realization that a big ticket item was stolen from the store.

What I heard that was stolen yesterday morning was unbelievable too!

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