The kind of preaching that encourages you to sin

This post by Jared C. Wilson, over at the Gospel Coalition is meant to be read by pastors/preachers. But, I always like to read articles like this from the listener’s perspective- myself. So, please read on, even if you are not a preacher/pastor. I have included each of Jared’s points, but you will have to click on the post to see the explanation for each one:

  1. Preaching even a “positive” practical message with no gospel-centrality amounts to preaching the law.
  2. The message of the law unaccompanied by and untethered from the central message of the gospel condemns us.
  3. Therefore, a steady dose of gospel-deficient practical preaching doesn’t make Christians more empowered, more effective, but more discouraged, less empowered.
  4. The Bible goes further to suggest, actually, that without the gospel of Christ’s finished work, the preaching of the law of works serves to exacerbate disobedience.
  5.  The law brings death
  6. The preaching of Christless, gospel-deficient practical sermons increases self-righteousness.

Read the entire article over at the Gospel Coalition (Photo credit thegospelcoalition.org)

Reclame

How can a sermon make the sin problem worse? A preacher explains

Peter Mead via http://sermoncentral.com Photo credit touchyaneighbor.com

Surely good preaching helps people live less sinful lives? Good preaching does, but not by moralizing. Simply pressuring people to clean up their act and perform more like good clean Christians is not gospel work. It is what Tim Keller refers to as turning younger brothers into older brothers. Cleaner, supposedly better and certainly more religious, but no more Christian than a fence post. Behavior modification is not the intention of the Bible. Independent pride promotion is the antithesis of Biblical intent.

So am I going against Scripture to argue against moralizing, especially when there is so much instruction there? I don’t think so. The Scripture assumes things to which we have grown blind. Knowing God brings life change, there are instructions relevant for those who are in communion with Him, but the process is never one of behavior modification first, internal realities second. And growth as a Christian is not a different set of rules; it continues to be by faith from first to last. So what does this mean?

In a nutshell, it means that we can’t simply be the older brother patrol out to instruct people toward a pseudo-godliness. When you preach an instructive section, be sure to put it in its full gospel context. Specifically, seek to answer the “why?” question. Why does that command make sense in light of the Bible’s teaching about God and sin and life? How you answer the why question will reveal your theology. That you ask the why question will reveal your awareness that instruction alone is never enough.

Read the entire article here- http://sermoncentral.com
Peter Mead is involved in church leadership at an independent Bible church in the UK.

Paul Washer – America’s preachers are Gospel ignorant

Another clip of Paul Washer at the G3 Conference Uploaded by WretchedNetwork

Matt Chandler preaching on Daystar

chandlerView more MATT CHANDLER sermons here

On the  Marcus and Joni Lamb program on 01.28.2013
Uploaded by DaystarTV

There are only 12 minutes in the video, even though the video shows 24 min, The last 12 min are blank.

Josh Patterson and Matt Chandler sit down with Jonathan Lamb and his wife Suzy Lamb in the Celebration Green Room on Daystar

The Green Room – Josh Patterson and Matt Chandler 01.28.2013

Don Carson preaching at the Chinese Conference in Los Angeles (2 sessions)

The Good Samaritan

The Rich Man and Lazarus

These 2 sermons are from October 26-28, 2012: held in Los Angeles, CA- Chinese Conference sponsored by Kernel of Wheat Ministries. The text is in

Luke 16:19 The Rich Man and Lazarus. Carson: How shall we understand this story? Is Jesus saying that there is always a simple reversal?-

  • live life well, end in hell
  • suffer pain, enjoy great gain
  • if you’re happy here, you’ll be miserable there
  • if you’re miserable here, you’ll be happy there

d a carsona simple reversal? Now, clearly, there is some kind of reversal here. But, so much of Scripture stands against any notion that there’s always reversal. For example, in Scripture, there are at least some Godly rich people. Think of Abraham, Job, Esther, at least in his early days, Solomon, Philemon, probably Theophilus. Moreover, there are at least some poor who are wicked. The Bible is very compassionate against those who are poor through no fault of their own. And, especially compassionate towards those who are poor because they are oppressed. But, the Book of Proverbs can also consider some poor, who are poor because they’re lazy. The sarcasm drips off the page.

Moreover, one has to integrate this passage with the rest of the Gospel of Luke. All four Gospels, including Luke are rushing towards the cross. If our eternal destiny is founded on the simple reversal theme, we don’t need the cross, all we need is poverty. (That is why) it is important to read our passage within the context. (5:02)…

What is the very essence of idolatry?

Obviously, it’s possible to serve two masters, if neither one is asking for absolute control. But, where there are competing interests, only one can win. And, the particular application Jesus makes here is you cannot serve both God and money. Of course He could have made other applications: You cannot serve both God and power, you cannot serve both God and sex. Now, in all three cases- money, power and sex- there is nothing intrinsically wrong with it. Money can be very useful and do a lot of good. Power, rightly exercised can be reforming. And sex, within its God ordained constraints is everywhere pictured as a good gift. But, even a good thing becomes a bad thing, that (eventually) becomes the supreme thing. That is the very essence of idolatry. For idolatry, you don’t necessarily have to follow a bad thing. All you have to do is make a good thing the supreme thing.

That’s why elsewhere Paul says covetousness is idolatry. Because when you covet something, that’s what you want the most, so that becomes God for you. But Jesus tells us that you cannot have 2 masters. If God is God you cannot most want money. What we most want is what we most fantasize about, what we daydream about, what we thing about. So the task becomes very clear: You cannot serve both God and anything else.

Pharisaism

In verses 14-15, we find Jesus addressing the Pharisees directly. The Pharisees, who loved money, heard all this and were sneering at Jesus. When it says that they sneered Him, almost certainly, they were sneering at him because they had money and He didn’t. So, among themselves, they were saying something like this: „Well, Jesus, you’re just some poor, itinerant preacher from Galilee. You don’t have money, so you don’t understand. We could be very Godly with our money,” they would say. „We tithe. We give alms for the poor. We can follow God and be rich. Don’t you see, that’s what we are?” They’re sneering at him. But, Jesus doesn’t back down. He says, in verse 15, „You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of others, but God knows your hearts.

In biblical justification, God justifies the ungodly on the basis of what Christ has done. But, in self justification, we justify ourselves on the basis of what we do. To be quite frank, sometime, when we are formally thanking God for graces that we’ve received, our motivations are so complex that at the same time we are patting ourselves on the back for having them. And, instead of seeing that we should be people that are constantly asking God for His grace, we become people who are quietly self congratulating ourselves. That’s what’s going on in this text.

These Pharisees are justifying themselves in front of others, in the context of talking about money, then they’re saying things like this, „God must like me quite a lot, because he’s blessed me with quite a lot of money.” And so, when they came up to a spotlight in their brand new chariot, and came up to someone who was driving just a broken down donkey, they would not actually say, „I’m better than they are.” But, deep down, when the light changed and they took off in their chariot, they knew that they were better. It’s so easy when you have money to begin to rank yourself, as compared with others, on the basis of how much you’ve got. Now, let me insist again. There are Godly men in scripture with money like Job, for example. So, if you’re a job, you don’t need this comment I’m about to make.

But, if you are not a Job, I warn you that having a lot of money is so easily away of justifying yourself in front of others who have less. You develop a ranking system in the church- not on the basis of Godliness or evangelistic fervor, but, on the basis of money. What does Jesus say about that? Verse 15- „what people value highly is detestable in God’s sight.” Now you see, it’s not the money God detests. He detests the money when people value the money so much as to make the money God. When they start to justify themselves on the basis of their money, then God detests it. Once again, we discover that the context is talking quite a lot about money.

The idolatry of possessions

At the end of chapter 15- The Parable of the Prodigal Son- (in which) a prodigal wastes His father’s possessions. Then at the beginning of chapter 16 – a dishonest servant wastes his master’s possession. Now, in the story of ‘the rich man and Lazarus‘, a rich man wastes his own possessions. In fact, we’re in a part of Luke’s Gospel where there’s a lot of emphasis on the idolatry of possessions. But, in principle, once again I must remind you that you could tell a very similar story  if you made sex your god, or if you made power your god, or if you made beauty your god, or if you made being a hunk your god. But here, the focus is on money. (18:30) There are still 40 minutes left of this message, which you can watch below. Uploaded by
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DTS Prof. Darrell Bock – What is the one thing preachers cannot afford to omit?

Here’s a short excerpt from this 12 minute video on the New testament books of Luke and Acts from Darrell Bock. Read the entire transcript directly below the video-

We tend to preach the Gospel as if it’s only about the forgiveness of sins. But, in fact, the whole point about having your sins forgiven is to reconnect you to God so that you can live the life He’s designed you to have. So, the gift of the Spirit is the enabler in that. And that was the missing dimension in the Hebrew Scriptures in the Old Testament and the Mosaic Covenant, is that God was working with the law, but, He wasn’t working inside the heart. So, He promised a New Covenant in Jeremiah. He says, „I’m gonna put the law in your heart, I’m gonna bring it inside of you. That’s the Gospel and that is the message of Acts 2. I say, „Preach it!” 

Darrell Bock Preaching from CPX on Vimeo.

Darrell Bock on preaching from Luke and Acts:

I think it is very important to make God and Jesus the main actors in the stories. Sometimes when we preach, we make the focus of the story ‘US’. But, if we do that, we actually lose the interactive dimension of being responsive to God in the process. In everything, Luke-Acts is being by God’s plan, by God’s direction. So, keeping God at the center of the story is really important.

We call the second book Luke wrote ‘The Acts of the Apostles’. But, it really is the acts of God through Jesus Christ. And everything that’s happening is a response to God’s direction. Every key turning point: Paul’s conversion, the entry of Gentiles into the community through Peter’s preaching to Cornelius is directed by God. Even God’s protection of Paul as he goes to Rome. So keep God at the center of the story.

What are some of the key things that we need to feature highly in preaching?

A key theme, which at first doesn’t seem relevant, but actually is is the whole issue of legitimization. Luke-Acts is written to substantiate or legitimate the christian faith. Because, in the Greco Roman world a new religion was problematic. A new religion needed to be time tested in order to have value. So, Luke is actually explaining how the program of God in Jesus Christ- this is something new- it’s part of the promises that go back centuries. It goes back, in fact, millennia to Abraham. And so, this long connection is important. Even the idea of including Jews and Gentiles was an evidence of the reconciliation that God is bringing through salvation is legitimated and substantiated  by the way Luke tells the story. And that’s important because what it shows is the point of the Gospel is this reconciliation that is going on, which is one of the points of salvation. To reclaim the creation and put it back in alignment with itself.

And if you know the history of Jews and Gentiles, what the history was before the time of Christ, the Gentiles tried to wipe out the Jewish faith- there was a lot of hostility. The idea of trying to reconcile those two very hostile groups is actually quite an assignment that Luke is saying, God is taking on.

There is also the very presentation of Jesus in the 2 volumes. I think Luke tells the story of Jesus, primarily from the earth up. We understand that He’s the Messiah in the beginning, that He fits in to the promises that were made to Israel at the start. Certain covenant commitments, we can get our hands around that. But, as we move through the story, we see Him do things that points to an authority that means He’s more than a Messiah. He’s more than a prophet. And so, He does things like- He has authority over the Sabbath. Well, who’s responsible for the Sabbath? God was. It was the picture of His seventh day of resting. It was in the 10 commandments. Yet, Jesus says the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath. He forgives sin. Well, who gets to forgive sins, but God alone? He calms the winds and the waves. Who’s able to do that? The Psalms tell us that God is responsible for calming the winds and the waves.

And then, there are other things. He changes the liturgy of Israel. The Exodus story, the passover gets changed into His own story. Well, who gives Him authority to do that? It’s one thing to write liturgy that expands on an event that is already in place. Jesus completely changes, He has the authority to do that. He walks into the temple and cleanses it. Who has the authority to do that and speak for God? And so, then, He finally says, „God’s gonna vindicate Me and give Me a seat with God in heaven.” Who gets to do that?

So, the whole point of Luke’s Gospel is to show how unique Jesus is and Acts shows Him pouring out the gift of salvation that is a sign of the new era of the Holy Spirit onto people, to claim a people for HImself and to enable and empower them to walk with God. That’s the story of Acts. The theme beyond Jesus-earth-up that’s important in Luke-Acts is how the Holy Spirit  and the coming of the Holy Spirit is the coming of a new era that comes through Jesus. And so, that makes Acts a pivot in the two volumes because that’s where the Spirit is poured out and that’s where Peter  and Israel can now know that God has made ‘this Jesus’ Lord and Christ. In other words, He’s made it evident that’s who He is.

What resonates with a modern audience from Luke-Acts?

There are all kinds of ethical dimensions to what Luke is doing in Luke-Acts that’s very important. I like to point out that in the very first chapter, when John the Baptist is introduced, in verses 16 & 17, it says ‘He’s gonna turn Israel to God’. Then, in the next verse it says ‘He’s gonna turn the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the righteous’. Normally, when you think of repentance, you think, „Well, that’s between me and God.” But, Luke is showing, „No, if you repent, there’s a response between you and God that’s gonna impact the way you’re relating to other people.” He reinforces this 2 chapters later in chap. 3:10-14, another unique part of Luke, where he’s discussing John the Baptist. We don’t have this in any of the other gospels.

And the people ask, „What are we supposed to do?’ after John asks them to „make fruit worthy of repentance”. The greek verb in both the statement and in the question is the same. It means to do or to make fruit. Every answer to the 3 different groups that ask the question has to do with how we are relating to other people and not how we’re relating to God. It actually reflects something we see in the Old Testament because the 10 commandments have 2 parts. There’s the part that deals with our relationship with God and there’s the part that deals with our relationship to others. And we’re supposed to see that as a whole. And even the 2 great commandments that Jesus taught go the same way: Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind and soul, and love your neighbor as yourself.

Jesus is saying, if there’s a transition in the way we live before God, that’s gonna impact the way we relate to others. So, He talks about how we relate to the poor, what we do with our possessions, how we deal with widows and people in need, so there are all kinds of acts of compassion. All this resonates at a core level in terms of what you can teach and preach in Luke-Acts.

How should you preach from Luke-Acts? 

I think you just present them, they are effective communication of what the message of the church is about. So, the preacher who preaches the sermons in Acts, in particular, and there a few sermons as well that Jesus gives, say, at the synagogue in Nazareth. Just present their content and make clear what it is that the speaker was getting at. I mean the whole idea of Acts 2- that the way we can know that the new era of God has come is by the gift of the Spirit that He gives to us as a result of forgiveness of sins. It makes a point of what the Gospel is.

This Gospel provides a life that is moral, it’s a life of integrity, it’s a life of quality, a life of giving. You’re not just taking. And you receive from God graciously, but because you understand what it is to receive- you give. And so, This is a very important part of the Gospel. Too much of our lives are oriented simply for being takers and taking in and consuming  and disposing. And then, everything else becomes an object that I utilize for my own purposes. Part of what happens in christianity is that you move outside yourself. And in moving outside yourself, you engage other people in a way that is completely different than the way they’re used to being engaged and you actually end up affirming them in the process if you do it well and if you do it with a good moral balance. So, it doesn’t suppress life at all. It actually releases life and it keeps you from destroying life.

Luke’s unique way of writing

I think we see an emphasis in the way Luke writes that is very important. We have hymns that shows how we praise God. We praise God by thanking Him for what He’s done. There’s a wonderful contrast between the hymns of the  material in which Mary praises God for reaching out to a humble girl like her. She was 13 years old or so when she becomes Joseph’s wife and has this child through the Holy Spirit. So, you’ve got that on the one hand. And the you’ve got the contrast with the Pharisee that says, „I thank you God that I’m such a great guy, that  I fast twice a week, and I tithe and I’m not like this sinner who’s over here, next to me praying. There’s a very stark difference in that and there’s a humility in that that Luke talks about that is a part of our worship.

When the centurion says to Jesus, through Jewish emissaries, „You don’t need  to come under my house, in order to heal, I’m not worthy to have You come in my house”. Or, when the sinful woman anoints Jesus, out of love and gratitude for the forgiveness of sins that Jesus has provided, that she couldn’t provide for herself. That humility, that lack of entitlement fills our spirit of worship, causes us to love God cause we appreciate the debt that He’s cancelled for us. In that love and in that devotion, there’s an allegiance that is a reflection of worship. That’s what Luke is getting at, in terms of how we respond to the message of the Gospel. And, certainly, that is something that should be emphasized as you preach through these 2 volumes.

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Al Mohler – Hebrews 12

English: Al Mohler, President of Southern Bapt...

Expositors Summit 2012: General Session 6

 

Expositors Summit 2012: General Session 6 from Southern Seminary on Vimeo.

John Piper – Preaching that is shaped by the weight of the glory of God

John Piper at Peacemakers Conference in 2006

Piper on preaching – from the 2006 Together for the Gospel Conference which was held in Louisville, Kentucky. Source for the transcript and to read the entire transcript go here- http://ru.desiringgod.org/resource-library/conference-messages/why-expositional-preaching-is-particularly-glorifying-to-god/ Please read the footnotes as well, you will also find valuable insight there.

In order to understand the weight of this message we’ll get a glimpse by beginning with the last  paragraph, of Piper’s ending with an exhortation to all preachers (all emphasis mine):

O brothers, do not lie about the value of the gospel by the dullness of your demeanor. Exposition of the most glorious reality is a glorious reality. If it is not expository exultation—authentic from the heart—something false is being said about the value of the gospel. Don’t say by your face or by your voice or by your life that the gospel is not the gospel of the all-satisfying glory of Christ. It is. And may God raise up from among you a generation of preachers whose exposition is worthy of the truth of God and whose exultation is worthy of the glory of God.

Piper begins his message by quoting Arnold Dallimore’s, George Whitefield, Vol. 1 (London: Banner of Truth Trust, 1970), p. 16. about the preaching of  George Whitefield:

Yea…that we shall see the great Head of the Church once more . . . raise up unto Himself certain young men whom He may use in this glorious employ. And what manner of men will they be? Men mighty in the Scriptures, their lives dominated by a sense of the greatness, the majesty and holiness of God, and their minds and hearts aglow with the great truths of the doctrines of grace. They will be men who have learned what it is to die to self, to human aims and personal ambitions; men who are willing to be ‘fools for Christ’s sake’, who will bear reproach and falsehood, who will labor and suffer, and whose supreme desire will be, not to gain earth’s accolades, but to win the Master’s approbation when they appear before His awesome judgment seat. They will be men who will preach with broken hearts and tear-filled eyes, and upon whose ministries God will grant an extraordinary effusion of the Holy Spirit, and who will witness ‘signs and wonders following’ in the transformation of multitudes of human lives.

Piper then quotes J I Packer about the preaching of Martyn Lloyd-Jones. Note the quip about „never heard such preaching”:

In the last century no one embodied that view better than Martyn Lloyd-Jones, who served the Westminster Chapel in London for 30 years. When J. I. Packer was a twenty-two-year-old student, he heard Lloyd-Jones preach every Sunday evening in London during the school year of 1948-1949. He said that he had “never heard such preaching.” (That’s why so many people say so many minimizing and foolish things about preaching—they have never heard true preaching. They have no basis for judgment about the usefulness of true preaching.) Packer said it came to him “with the force of electric shock, bringing . . . more of a sense of God than any other man” he had known. That’s what Whitefield meant. Oh, that God would raise up young preachers who leave their hearers with a spiritual sense of shock at the sense of God—some sense of the infinite weight of the reality of God.

then Piper talks about longing for preachers like that in our day, citing that there is no ‘surplus in the church of the weight of God’s glory:

That is my longing for our day—and for you. That God would raise up thousands of broken-hearted, Bible-saturated preachers who are dominated by a sense of the greatness and the majesty and the holiness of God, revealed in the gospel of Christ crucified and risen and reigning with absolute authority over every nation and every army and every false religion and every terrorist and every tsunami and every cancer cell, and every galaxy in the universe.

God did not ordain the cross of Christ or create the lake of fire in order to communicate the insignificance of belittling his glory. The death of the Son of God and the damnation of unrepentant human beings are the loudest shouts under heaven that God is infinitely holy, and sin is infinitely offensive, and wrath is infinitely just, and grace is infinitely precious, and our brief life—and the life of every person in your church and in your community—leads to everlasting joy or everlasting suffering. If our preaching does not carry the weight of these things to our people, what will? Veggie Tales? Radio? Television? Discussion groups? Emergent conversations?

God planned for his Son to be crucified (Revelation 13:8; 2 Timothy 1:9) and for hell to be terrible (Matthew 25:41) so that we would have the clearest witnesses possible to what is at stake when we preach. What gives preaching its seriousness is that the mantle of the preacher is soaked with the blood of Jesus and singed with the fire of hell. That’s the mantle that turns mere talkers into preachers. Yet tragically some of the most prominent evangelical voices today diminish the horror of the cross and the horror of hell—the one stripped of its power to bear our punishment, and the other demythologized into self-dehumanization and the social miseries of this world.

Oh that the rising generations would see that the world is not overrun with a sense of seriousness about God. There is no surplus in the church of a sense of God’s glory. There is no excess of earnestness in the church about heaven and hell and sin and salvation. And therefore the joy of many Christians is paper thin. By the millions people are amusing themselves to death with DVDs, and 107-inch TV screens, and games on their cell phones, and slapstick worship, while the spokesmen of a massive world religion write letters to the West in major publications saying, “The first thing we are calling you to is Islam . . . It is the religion of enjoining the good and forbidding the evil with the hand, tongue and heart. It is the religion of jihad in the way of Allah so that Allah’s Word and religion reign Supreme.”And then these spokesmen publicly bless suicide bombers who blow up children in front of Falafel shops and call it the way to paradise. This is the world in which we preach.

and what is our contemporary, postmodern effort to preach? Here Piper says:

And yet incomprehensibly, in this Christ-diminishing, soul-destroying age, books and seminars and divinity schools and church growth specialists are bent on saying to young pastors, “Lighten up.” “Get funny.” “Do something amusing.” To this I ask, Where is the spirit of Jesus?

Here Piper gives a portrayal of the Glory of God:

What you believe about the necessity of preaching and the nature of preaching is governed by your sense of the greatness and the glory of God and how you believe people awaken to that glory and live for that glory. So this next section presents a portrayal of the glory of God, and the third will deal with how people awaken to that glory and are changed by it.

From beginning to end nothing in the Bible is more ultimate in the mind and heart of God than the glory of God—the beauty of God, the radiance of his manifold perfections. At every point in God’s revealed action, wherever he makes plain the ultimate goal of that action, the goal is always the same: to uphold and display his glory.

  • He predestined us for his glory (Ephesians 1:6).
  • He created us for his glory (Isaiah 43:7).
  • He elected Israel for his glory (Jeremiah 13:11).
  • He saved his people from Egypt for his glory (Psalm 106:8).
  • He rescued them from exile for his glory (Isaiah 48:9-11).
  • He sent Christ into the world so that Gentiles would praise God for his glory (Romans 15:9).
  • He commands his people, whether they eat or drink, to do all things for his glory (1 Corinthians 10:31).
  • He will send Jesus a second time so that all the redeemed will marvel at his glory (2 Thessalonians 1:9-10).

Therefore the mission of the church is: “Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all peoples” (Psalm 96:3).

These and a hundred more places drive us back up into the ultimate allegiance of God. Nothing affects preaching more deeply than to be struck almost speechless—almost—by the passion of God for the glory of God. What is clear from the whole range of biblical revelation is that God’s ultimate allegiance is to know himself perfectly, and to love himself infinitely, and to share this experience, as much as it can be, with his people. Over every act of God flies the banner: “For my own sake, for my own sake, I do it, for how should my name be profaned? My glory I will not give to another” (Isaiah 48:11; cf. 42:8).

Piper concludes giving specific examples of  ‘How People Waken to This Glory And Are Changed by It’ and pleading for preachers to use ‘expository exultation’ in their preaching. His last exhortation is pretty blunt, but accurate:

O brothers, do not lie about the value of the gospel by the dullness of your demeanor. Exposition of the most glorious reality is a glorious reality. If it is not expositoryexultation—authentic from the heart—something false is being said about the value of the gospel. Don’t say by your face or by your voice or by your life that the gospel is not the gospel of the all-satisfying glory of Christ. It is. And may God raise up from among you a generation of preachers whose exposition is worthy of the truth of God and whose exultation is worthy of the glory of God.

Click here and read the entire message – http://ru.desiringgod.org/resource-library/conference-messages via DesiringGod.org

Al Mohler – Shepherd’s Conference 2012 – The Calling of a Preacher

Introduction from the message given by Al Mohler. See video for flu message:

Let’s admit it. There’s a lot of mysteries in the christian life, but one of the greatest mysteries is why God would in His sovereign, omnipotent and omniscient, and wisdom and righteousness, and mercy choose the likes of folks as we… to do this. You might think that if we were orchestrating this, we might have angels doing the preaching. Everybody would listen to an angel, wouldn’t they? Of course,  not American angels. We domesticate little angels, we paint little pictures of cherubs and hang them in the bathroom. It’s a completely different reality. Just remember in the Gospel of Luke, the angelic hosts showed up to the shepherds and the first think they had to say is, „First of all, don’t die” – „Fear not, we bring you tidings of great joy”. Meanwhile, most Americans, in our weirdo, fake, postmodern spirituality think they’re channeling with little cherubs in the bathroom.

But God doesn’t assign angels to do the preaching. He assigned human preachers, men whom He has called because when an angel shows up to preach you don’t ask, „How did God do that?”. But, when we show up to preach you’re looking at me going (saying), „He’s just flesh and blood. He’s nearsighted. He only speaks one language. He’s gonna be hungry soon. He fell asleep during a Greek lecture, thirty something years ago and you’re letting him preach?” Well, it’s as the apostle Paul says, „It’s so that the glory would be all of God’s and not ours. So that the excellence would be His excellence that’s demonstrated and not ours.”

Admit it: you’d love to be doing this, and then admit it: That’s a good thing. And then let’s just admit it together, it’s just a priceless thing that we get to be together for these days and these hours, to preach and to hear preaching and to be encouraged, not only by each other, but by the Holy Spirit of God in this calling that has come to us.

How is it that there can be such confusion about the calling of the preacher?

There are many things I can understand that can confuse us. We’re rightly confused about many things. There are simple some things that are vexing and confusing They’re not easily understood. But when it comes to the calling of a preacher there is such Biblical clarity. How in the world do you get confused about this? When you look at the contemporary church life, it is very, very clear that there is wholesale confusion about what the preacher is supposed to do. Not only in academia are they talking about getting the sage off the stage just to be the guide on the side.

There are an awful lot of preachers who think they’re not supposed to declare, they’re not supposed to proclaim, they’re not supposed to rebuke, they’re not supposed to exhort. All they’re supposed to do is kind of hint… suggest… maybe a little insinuation, here and there.

Have you noticed how many churches don’t have a pulpit anymore? Because it implies something that’s supposed to take place here. I think one of the reasons a lot of churches don’t have pulpits is because you can just sort of glide here and there and make a few suggestions. Whereas, a pulpit has a history. It’s a substantial piece of furniture that says: This is actually a place where something is supposed to happen. Now, a lot of those pulpits weren’t very useful because they had a tiny place to put anything on. Everything about this pulpit says that it is here for one reason: teaching. But there’s an antipathy towards this, there’s an incredible confusion and I’ll admit I just don’t understand it.

I think, that it just might be, that the most dangerous place on planet earth is in an evangelical Bible study. One of those unguided Bible studies, like some churches have. Where everybody slouches in a chair with their own copy of God’s word, open on their lap. And you read a verse and you know the question that’s coming: What does this verse mean to you? I don’t wanna hurt your feelings, but I don’t care what this verse means to you. I wanna know what it means and that’s when you’ve actually gotta have someone who can teach, who’s equipped, who has studied to show himself approved, a workman who needs not to be ashamed.

I remember back in junior high school when we had these non directed Bible studies. They told us to get together. You imagine 14 year old boys in  a room, sitting at the table, reading a Bible. We read a text and said, „What do you think?” „I don’t know” After going around we closed the Bible and asked, „Ok, what’s your favorite team?” They have to be taught. We have to be taught.

It is the privilege and the responsibility of the preacher to teach.

 „How will they hear without a preacher?” asked Paul. The Ethiopian Eunuch had to be taught by Philip. The clear assignment to the preacher is to preach the word in season and out of season. And we wonder with an exhortation, a commandment that is that clear, how could we possibly get it confused?  And yet many do.

by Grace Community Church at Vimeo

Colossians 1 (ESV)

Greeting

1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother,

To the saints and faithful brothers[a] in Christ at Colossae:

Grace to you and peace from God our Father.

Thanksgiving and Prayer

 We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints,because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. Of this you have heard before in the word of the truth, the gospel, which has come to you, as indeed in the whole world it is bearing fruit and increasing—as it also does among you, since the day you heard it and understood the grace of God in truth, just as you learned it from Epaphras our beloved fellow servant.[b] He is a faithful minister of Christ on your[c] behalf and has made known to us your love in the Spirit.

And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, 10 so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. 11  May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, 12  giving thanks[d] to the Father, who has qualified you[e] to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. 13 He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, 14  in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

The Preeminence of Christ

15  He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by[f] him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. 17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent.19 For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.

21  And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, 22 he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless andabove reproach before him, 23  if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation[g] under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister.

Paul’s Ministry to the Church

24 Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church, 25  of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God that was given to me for you, to make the word of God fully known, 26  the mystery hidden for ages and generations but now revealed to his saints. 27  To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. 28 Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ. 29 For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me.

Spiritual profiling of the 8 groups of people Jesus interacted with – 1st century by Tom Hovestol (essential read)

This is a very good and useful Bible study book and aid, that helps us understand how Jesus preached to different groups of people, and how it relates to our own efforts in proclaiming the Gospel to all peoples, by mirroring Jesus’s own ministry. As you listen to the author describe the groups, you will identify today’s own groups in most cases and will get insight as to why although He proclaimed the Gospel to all, still, Jesus did not spend a lot of time preaching to certain of these groups.

The book is written by TOM  HOVESTOL, who is the pastor of Calvary Church in Longmont, Colorado. A graduate of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and Wheaton College, he served for three years as a teacher in Swaziland, Africa, and later as a pastor in Texas. He and his wife, Carey, are the parents of five children and reside in Longmont, Colorado.

From the Book cover:

Jesus’ world was far more religiously pluralistic than most of us imagine. He grew up and headquartered His ministry in “Galilee of the Gentiles.” He regularly rubbed shoulders with polytheistic and superstitious Romans, with philosophical and sophisticated Greeks, with hard-partying pagans, and with God-fearing Africans.

The Bible tells us that Jesus, unlike His fellow countrymen, did not avoid the despised and syncretistic Samaritans. Nor did Jesus shun the Jews who were considered persona non grata in the local synagogues, like those who worked for the occupying government, or who rejected Hebrew ways in favor of Greek, or who lived hellion lifestyles. Moreover, Jesus interacted with individuals representing all of the major sects of Judaism – Sadducees, Pharisees, Zealots, and Essenes. And these included a huge variety of spiritual expression from the emotional to the contemplative, from the spontaneous to the staid, from Bible-thumpers to compassion-lovers, from those who push religion to the four corners of their lives while others passionately seek to push it to the four corners of the globe.

Is there some way to categorize, organize and understand the varieties of spiritual expression that Jesus encountered? Is it possible that the kinds of people Jesus dealt with in His day are similar to the ones we face today? Are there prototypical and stereotypical religious patterns to which people gravitate? And why do we do so? If we lived in Jesus’ day, what spiritual “camp” would be most like ours? How would Jesus approach us? What would he do with us? What would our Spiritual Profile be?

Tom Hovestol discusses his book on Conversant life (Unfortunately only these 2 videos are posted and available, the third one has not been posted)
Videourile Vodpod nu mai sunt disponibile.

1st collector for Tom Hovestol – Spiritual profiling interview
Follow my videos on vodpod

Part 2

Other articles of interest:

  1. Some church history – Jesus and the 1st century historian Titus Flavius Josephus
  2. What’s News about Jesus – Ben Witherington, Darell Bock, Dan Wallace video discussion
  3. New Testament – Jesus, Canon, and Theology – Ben Witherington, Darell Bock, Dan Wallace video discussion

Martyn Lloyd Jones – Preacher (Biography and Online book by John Peters)

A BRIEF BIOGRAPHY (source)

David Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899–1981)

David Martyn Lloyd-Jones (20 December 1899 – 1 March 1981) was a Welsh Protestant minister, preacher and medical doctor who was influential in the Reformed wing of the British evangelical movement in the 20th century. For almost 30 years,  he was the minister of Westminster Chapel in London. Lloyd-Jones was strongly opposed to the liberal theology that had become a part of many Christian denominations, regarding it as aberrant. He disagreed with the broad church approach and encouraged evangelical Christians (particularly Anglicans) to leave their existing denominations, taking the view that true Christian fellowship was only possible amongst those who shared common convictions regarding the nature of the faith.

Lloyd-Jones was born in Cardiff and raised in Llangeitho, Ceredigion. Llangeitho is associated with the Welsh Methodist revival, as it was the location of Daniel Rowland’s ministry. Attending a London grammar school between 1914 and 1917 and then St Bartholomew’s Hospital as a medical student, in 1921 he started work as assistant to the Royal Physician, Sir Thomas Horder. After struggling for two years over what he sensed was a calling to preach, in 1927 Lloyd-Jones returned to Wales, having married Bethan Phillips (with whom he later had two children, Elizabeth and Ann), accepting an invitation to minister at a church in Aberavon (Port Talbot).

After a decade ministering in Aberavon, in 1939 he went back to London, where he had been appointed as associate pastor of Westminster Chapel, London, working alongside G. Campbell Morgan. In 1943 Morgan retired, leaving Jones as the sole Pastor of Westminster Chapel.

Lloyd-Jones was well-known for his style of expository preaching, and the Sunday morning and evening meetings at which he officiated drew crowds of several thousand, as did the Friday evening Bible studies – which were, in effect, sermons in the same style. He would take many months – even years – to expound a chapter of the Bible verse by verse. His sermons would often be around fifty minutes to an hour in length, attracting many students from universities and colleges in London. His sermons were also transcribed and printed (virtually verbatim) in the weekly Westminster Record, which was read avidly by those who enjoyed his preaching.

Lloyd-Jones provoked a major dispute in 1966 when, at the National Assembly of Evangelicals organised by the Evangelical Alliance, he called on all clergy of evangelical conviction to leave denominations which contained both liberal and evangelical congregations. This was interpreted as referring primarily to evangelicals within the Church of England, although there is disagreement over whether this was his intention. As a significant figure to many in the free churches, Lloyd-Jones had hoped to encourage those Christians who held evangelical beliefs to withdraw from any churches where alternative views were present.

However, Lloyd-Jones was criticised by the leading Anglican evangelical John Stott. Although Stott was not scheduled to speak, he used his position as chairman of the meeting to publicly rebuke Lloyd-Jones, stating that his opinion was against history and the Bible (though John Stott greatly admired Lloyd-Jones’s work, and would often quote him in Stott’s own books). This open clash between the two elder statesmen of British evangelicalism was widely reported in the Christian press and caused considerable controversy. Although there is an ongoing debate as to the exact nature of Lloyd-Jones’s views, they undoubtedly caused the two groupings to adopt diametrically opposed positions. These positions, and the resulting split, continue largely unchanged to this day.

Lloyd-Jones retired from his ministry at Westminster Chapel in 1968, following a major operation. He spoke of a belief that God had stopped him from continuing to preach through the New Testament book of the Letter to the Romans in his Friday evening Bible study exposition because he did not personally know enough about „joy in the Holy Spirit” which was to be his next sermon (based on Romans 14:17). For the rest of his life he concentrated on editing his sermons to be published, counselling other ministers, answering letters and attending conferences. Perhaps his most famous publication is a 14 volume series of commentaries on the Epistle to the Romans, the first volume of which was published in 1970.

Despite spending most of his life living and ministering in England, Lloyd-Jones was proud of his roots in Wales. He best expressed his concern for his home country through his support of the Evangelical Movement of Wales: he was a regular speaker at their conferences, preaching in both English and Welsh. Since his death, the movement has published various books, in English and Welsh, bringing together selections of his sermons and articles.

Lloyd-Jones preached for the last time on 8 June 1980 at Barcombe Baptist Chapel. After a lifetime of work, he died peacefully in his sleep at Ealing on 1 March 1981, St David’s Day. He was buried at Newcastle Emlyn, near Cardigan, west Wales. A well-attended thanksgiving service was held at Westminster Chapel on 6 April.

Since his death there have been various publications regarding Lloyd-Jones and his work, most popularly a biography in two volumes by Iain Murray.

Legacy

Charismatic Movement

Martyn Lloyd-Jones has admirers from many different denominations in the Christian Church today. One much-discussed aspect of his legacy is his relationship to the Charismatic Movement. Respected by leaders of many churches associated with this movement, although not directly associated with them, he did teach the Baptism with the Holy Spirit as a distinct experience rather than conversion and the regeneration of the Holy Spirit.[5] Indeed, towards the end of his life he urged his listeners to actively seek an experience of the Holy Spirit. For instance, in his exposition of Ephesians 6:10-13, published in 1976, he says, „Do you know anything of this fire? If you do not, confess it to God and acknowledge it. Repent, and ask Him to send the Spirit and His love into you until you are melted and moved, until you are filled with his love divine, and know His love to you, and rejoice in it as his child, and look forward to the hope of the coming glory. ‘Quench not the Spirit’, but rather ‘be filled with the Spirit’ and ‘rejoice in Christ Jesus'”.[6]

Part of Lloyd-Jones’ stress of the Christian’s need of the baptism with the Holy Spirit was due to his belief that this provides an overwhelming assurance of God’s love to the Christian, and thereby enables him to boldly witness for Christ to an unbelieving world.[5]

Aside from his insistence that the baptism with the Spirit is a work of Jesus Christ distinct from regeneration, rather than the filling of the Holy Spirit, Lloyd-Jones also opposed cessationism, claiming that the doctrine is not founded upon Scripture. In fact, he requested that Banner of Truth Trust, the publishing company which he co-founded, only publish his works on the subject after his death.[5] He claimed that those who took a position such as B.B. Warfield’s on cessationism were ‘quenching the Spirit.’[5] He continued to proclaim the necessity of the active working of God in the world and the need for him to miraculously demonstrate his power so that Christian preachers (and all those who witness for Christ) might gain a hearing in a contemporary world that is hostile to the true God and to Christianity in general.[4]

Preaching

Lloyd-Jones seldom agreed to preach live on television, (the exact number of occasions is not known, but it was most likely only once or twice).[7] His reasoning behind this decision was that this type of „controlled” preaching, that is, preaching that is constrained by time-limits, „militates against the freedom of the Spirit.”In other words, he believed that the preacher should be free to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit concerning the length of time in which he is allowed to preach. He recorded that he once asked a television executive who wanted him to preach on television, „What would happen to your programmes if the Holy Spirit suddenly descended upon the preacher and possessed him; what would happen to your programmes?”

Perhaps the greatest aspect of Lloyd-Jones’ legacy has to do with his preaching. Lloyd-Jones was one of the most influential preachers of the twentieth century. Many volumes of his sermons have been published by Banner of Truth, as well as other publishing companies. In his book, Preaching and Preachers (Zondervan, 1971), Lloyd-Jones describes his views on preaching, or what might be called his doctrine of homiletics. In this book, he defines preaching as „Logic on fire.” The meaning of this definition is demonstrated throughout the book, in which he describes his own preaching style which had developed over his many years of ministry.

His preaching style may be summarized as ‘logic on fire’ for several reasons. First, he believed that the use of logic was vital for the preacher. But his view of logic was not the same as that of the Enlightenment. This is why he called it logic „on fire.” The fire has to do with the activity and power of the Holy Spirit. He therefore believed that preaching was the logical demonstration of the truth of a given passage of Scripture with the aid, or unction, of the Holy Spirit.[9] This view manifested itself in the form of Lloyd-Jones’ sermons. Lloyd-Jones believed that true preaching was always expository. This means he believed that the primary purpose of the sermon was to reveal and expand the primary teaching of the passage under consideration. Once the primary teaching was revealed, he would then logically expand this theme, demonstrating that it was a biblical doctrine by showing that it was taught in other passages in the Bible, and using logic in order to demonstrate its practical use and necessity for the hearer. With this being the case, he labored in his book Preaching and Preachers to caution young preachers against what he deemed as „commentary-style” preaching as well as „topical” preaching.

Lloyd-Jones’ preaching style was therefore set apart by his sound exposition of biblical doctrine and his fire and passion in its delivery. He is thereby known as a preacher who continued on in the Puritan tradition of experimental preaching. A famous quote on the effects of Lloyd-Jones preaching is given by theologian and preacher J.I. Packer, who wrote that he had „never heard such preaching.” It came to him „with the force of electric shock, bringing to at least one of his listeners more of a sense of God than any other man”.

Lloyd-Jones was also an avid supporter of the Evangelical Library in London.

Martyn Lloyd Jones – Preacher by John Peters (via)

Martyn Lloyd-Jones was possibly the greatest British preacher of the twentieth century. His ministry at Westminster Chapel and his writings earned him respect and affection throughout the world. He had a decisive influence on many individuals and on evangelicalism as a whole.

Now John Peters who (like the Doctor) is a Welsh- speaking Welshman, has written the first complete account of The Doctor’s life and achievement. It includes personal reminiscences by men and women whose lives were changed by Martyn Lloyd-Jones.


John Peters is a native of Aberdare, South Wales. He teaches English language and literature at Charterhouse School and lives in Godalming with his wife and three children.

This excellent little book is now out of print, but the text is exclusively presented here for you to freely download by kind permission of the author, John Peters. Copyright © 1986 John Peters

Links to access download of 75 page book:

Rich Text Format (which will load into most wordprocessors)

Microsoft Word Format.

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