Sermon Tip: Focus

By DrBillComments Off

laser beam

Laser or light bulb?

Some preachers only kind-of, sort-of, know what they want to say when they get in the pulpit.  And by that I am not saying that they don’t have a manuscript or notes.  What I mean by FOCUS is, has the message captured your heart?  Has God gripped your soul with what you want to say today to God’s people in God’s name?  Focus is when the Big Idea (the Proposition; the Sermon in a Sentence) has gripped your soul and it won’t let you go, until you let it out.

If the message has gripped your soul, you will have Focus.   When you have Focus, you have a powerful message.

What is the result of having Focus to your sermon?

1.  People will feel the power of your message upon THEIR hearts.

They will be gripped by it as well, and they will focus on you.  This is important.  I sit at the back of church when I am not preaching, and I see how the people at the back are really easily distracted.  It takes a powerful message with a strong focus to capture and keep their attention.  The further they sit from the pulpit, the more the Focus is important to maintain their attention.

2.  Your message will be delivered to their hearts like a laser, and not like a soft-white diffused fluorescent bulb.

People will feel like God is speaking to them about something specific.  God’s application is always very specific.  A focused message helps to deliver God’s truth into people’s hearts.

3.  Every point in your message will supplement your main point and sharpen the focus.

The Mains will sharpen, clarify, and strengthen what you have to say.  They will sharpen the Focus, not soften it.

How do you know if you don’t have Focus in your sermon?

1.  You will ramble!

If you don’t have anything specific to say, then, just about anything will do.  Rambling generalities never changed anyone’s life.

2.  You will try to make too many applications.

When a preacher is not sure of what s/he has to say, they often pull out the easy applications and start hitting people about the same old sins.  But Focus helps a sermon to point to one specific life change which God’s Word is calling them to do.

3.  You will lack passion.

The people will sense it, and you will feel it.  The right words may come out, but not with the same punch or power.  Focus adds passion.

How to get Focus in your sermon:

This is the tough part.  How can you make sure that week in and week out, you have clear Focus?  You need to have clearly written goals for your sermon.  I use SermonBase Message Planning Software® to help me frame up my goals for every single message.  I determine the main goal for the entire message.  (And please note, that this is NOT the same as the Big Idea or Proposition.)  Then I determine three sub-goals: Intellectual, Emotional, and Behavioral.  Asking these questions helps me to sharpen the Focus of my message.

Hope that helps!

Here’s to good preaching that grab’s people’s hearts in the name of Jesus!

Dr. Bill

SermonBase.com

HighPower Resources.com

General, Preaching, Sermon Tips

How to Prepare a Sermon: Part 1, Praying about Your Sermon

By DrBillComments Off

Do you pray for your sermon?praying hands

If so, about what do you pray?  Do you ask God to give you wisdom on topic selection? Do you ask Him to use your sermon in the lives of your listeners? Do you pray that you won’t mess up?  Where does prayer for the sermon fit in your weekly sermon preparation?

The fact is that if we are engaged in a spiritual enterprise, then we need spiritual power. So the process of writing your sermon should have focused prayer built right into it, just as much as other factors in sermon preparation, like researching the text, or writing the introduction.  So where and how does prayer fit in our sermon preparation plans?  “Oh, I pray all the time.”  Do you? But how, specifically is that prayer directly focused upon your sermon for the week.

I would love to hear your answers as to how you pray for, about, and in prep for your sermon. Leave a comment if you please.

Here are my thoughts on this topic:

  • Pray for wisdom on sermon text & topic selection, before you begin (whether that is Monday morning, or sooner if you plan ahead, or use a great sermon planning tool like SermonBase Message Planning Software.
  • Pray through the text as you read and prepare that God would speak to YOU in the text. That will lend lots of power and focus to your message.
  • Pray for the audience you will be speaking to, that their hearts will be receptive to God’s Word.
  • Pray for yourself in terms of your presentation that you will not detract from the message which God has for the audience.

So there are four areas of prayer for your sermon prep week. Hope that helps. God’s best to you this week as you step into the pulpit!

Yours for Great Preaching!

Dr. Bill Miller

SermonBase.com

HighPowerResources.com

Preaching, Sermon Preparation

How To Prepare A Sermon: Part 8, Write the Conclusion

By DrBillComments Off

Hey Up-and-Coming Preachers!

We are working on our ten-part series on How to Prepare a Sermon.  We’ve already given you all ten steps of sermon preparation, and Part 1, Praying about your Sermon; Part 2, Textual vs. Topical; Part 3,Study the Passage; Part 4, Read the Commentaries; Part 5, Arrive at the Proposition; Part 6, Develop the Mains; Part 7, Provide Supporting Material, and today, Part 8, “Write the Conclusion”.

WRITE THE CONCLUSIONbullseye

This is where you want to take it home. The conclusion must be powerful, personal, and memorable. This is where you touch the heart.

Now, please note that writing the Conclusion, actually comes before writing the Introduction. (We cover writing the Introduction in Part 9.) Why does the Conclusion get written before the Introduction? Because it is at the Conclusion that you bring the full force of the intent of your sermon into play. You have written your sermon, and worked on the goals (especially if you have SermonBase Message Planning Software), and now as you come to the Conclusion you want to provide the final application to people’s lives.  You need to know what that application is before you begin writing the Introduction to your sermon. If so, then you will be able to find an interesting story for your Intro which highlights the application you intend to bring in the Conclusion. So the Conclusion must come first.

The Conclusion to your message must be Powerful, Personal, and Memorable.  Let’s look at each of these:

POWERFUL

The Conclusion must touch the heart. It needs to punch through the final last gasping breaths of resistance which any heart still might be holding out against the demands of God’s Holy Word. The Conclusion is your chance to grab their heart and to have them bow in submission to the Lord Jesus Christ in their life. It is in the Conclusion that you seek to help “every knee to bow and confess that Jesus Christ is Lord”. So it must be Powerful. This power can be communicated through many means. It could be the volume of your voice; it could be the passionate intensity of your demeanor; it could be the unique vocabulary reserved for the Conclusion; it could be a heart-touching illustration, or an example from your own life. There are many different means to power up your message at this point, and it should vary from week to week. But you need to use the Conclusion to express to every listener just how important this message is to their lives. The Conclusion must be powerful.

PERSONAL

While most of the sermon may be about Biblical history, characters, theology, truth, principles, etc., the Conclusion is eminently personal. In the Conclusion, you should be using the word “you” a lot. You should be talking to each person individually and personally. They must feel that you are addressing them individually as though no one else were in the room. They need to hear the voice of God through your voice during the Conclusion. It is here that you express to them your loving care and concern for them; that they would make the right choice; that they would get their life together; that they would experience the joy of obedience or walking with the Lord. The Conclusion must be personal.

MEMORABLE

If there is anything you want them to take home with them when this sermon is over, then include it in the Conclusion. You want the listeners to remember what you have said. Most Conclusions, then, will include a summary of your Main Points. It will also often include a restatement of your Proposition. You may have a memorable story to include in the Conclusion, if it brings the main idea home, and doesn’t distract. You as the preacher need to remember that when you say your final “Amen” for that service, that people will switch over to their next activity for Sunday, or start planning their week, or whatever. Your sermon needs to be Memorable so that it can break through that clutter throughout the week, with the powerful Word of God. Just as a side note, this is why I do not have our weekly announcements after the sermon. Some churches move the announcements to the end of the service, but in my mind, that absolutely destroys the entire intention of the sermon. Why would I work all week to bring a memorable word from God, and then immediately after having delivered it, to distract them with some other announcements about this or that church event?

The Conclusion is an important part of your message, and it should be planned out carefully. It must summarize and concentrate the entire content of your sermon in one final, powerful, personal, memorable punch. Note please, that the Conclusion is not the place to introduce any new material. Do not distract from the main proposition and mains of your sermon at this point. Be sure to focus and apply what you have already said, not to introduce an entirely new concept or idea. Anything you share in your Conclusion, should already be either directly or indirectly referenced in the rest of your sermon.

Once your Conclusion is written, you can then get to work on the Introduction, which will be the focus of our next part.

Yours for Great Preaching!

Dr. Bill Miller

SermonBase.com

HighPowerResources.com

General, Sermon Preparation

Understanding the role of leaders in the church

By Gladys Perez-NejudneComments Off

by Janice S Ramkissoon

“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”

Matthew 28:19-20

 

In part one I shared how I became a slave to anger. Understanding why I became angry towards some leaders, I needed to know what God had to say about the matter, and not just allow my feelings to rule my actions. I searched the Scriptures for answers and as I am being taught by His word, it diffuses the anger. I then try to pass on the lessons I have learned with the people in my life, using the gifts that God has given me. Instead of getting upset about things not being in order, I asked God to teach me how to use my gifts to help in this area of teaching. Instead of speaking, I write and allow the Holy Spirit to do the work that only He can do. Whenever, I am required to speak, I believe the Holy Spirit will give me the utterance to boldly speak the truth, in love. In this article I look at the ‘Great Commission’ as a starting point:

Building up God’s Kingdom

From Matthew 28:1920, we are given instruction on how to continue building God’s Kingdom.  Jesus instructed His disciples to go and teach. Once the teaching is done, the natural progression for those who have responded to the good news of the gospel (having accepted Christ as their personal Lord and Saviour and have been baptized) is to continue on a learning path; growing in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.  Unless the teaching takes place, they will remain babes in Christ and that is when the enemy will entangle them again with the yoke of bondage, the very thing we are warned against in Galatians 5:1. They must be taught so that they can each become a disciple of Christ; living a life that reflects Christ in words and deeds. We see this particular commandment being carried out in the book of Acts.

Part 1 of the ‘Great Commission’

—Go Teach all Nations—

In Acts chapter 2, after receiving the Holy Spirit as Jesus had promised, the disciples were given the opportunity to speak to the crowd about God. Then in answer to the doubting crowd, who thought that the disciples were drunk, Peter was given the opportunity to preach the gospel and present the people with the opportunity to repent of their sins and be baptized. That was fulfilling the first part of the commandment to ‘Go ye therefore, and teach all nations…’ We see this played out in Acts chapter two, shortly after Jesus ascended to heaven.  Acts 2:38: “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” Later in chapter three, Peter was given another opportunity to preach to the crowd, after the miracle, of healing a lame man, had taken place. Acts 3:19-21, “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; And He shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you, whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.”

Part 2 of the ‘Great Commission’

—Baptize them—

The fulfilling of the second part of that command is highlighted in Acts 2:41: “Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.” Peter was obedient in following Jesus’ instructions to teach the people then baptize those who repented of their sins and accepted Christ as their personal Lord and Saviour.  This also ties up with the personal command given to Peter in St. John 21:15-22.  In that passage of Scripture, Jesus told Peter to feed:

  1. My lambs (babes in Christ)
  2. My sheep (those who are somewhere between feeding on milk and eating hard food)
  3. My sheep (those who are more mature in the knowledge of Christ. This suggest to me that we are never finished learning. Therefore, as the leaders teach they too will continue on the path of learning)

Then Peter was told, “Follow me.” This verse (19) suggests to me that we should never try to do it in our own will but always follow Jesus’ leading. It is the work of Christ that we do, not our own.  We belong to Him and must follow His instructions as He is the Master.  When we see ourselves in the light of servants or slaves, even though He calls us friend (see St. John 15), we will begin to understand our position within this relationship and know that there is only one way to respond to His commands. If you call Him Lord you cannot say no to His instructions.  Saying ‘No’ means you make yourself Lord and do according to your own will, effectively giving Satan control of your life and putting those under your leadership at risk. This constitutes disobedience and you will then give up your right to teach the flock to follow God’s commands, according to the third part of the ‘Great Commission’. My encouragement to you, therefore, is to continue studying the word of God, according to 2nd Tim 2:15, so that you will know how to lead His people. 

Part 3 of the Great Commission

—Teach Them to Observe My Commandments—

The final part of the command, “Teaching them to observe all things, whatsoever, I have commanded you…”, was carried out by the apostles and is evident from what is reported in Acts 2:42-47.  It was reported that they continued steadfastly, in the apostles’ doctrines and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers, praising God and having favour with all the people. Souls were also being added daily to the church. That means there would have been some form of regular gathering to teach the people what God required of them. They were new born babes in Christ and would not have been familiar with the teachings the disciples received or the customs of the disciples and so they would have had to learn about what it means to come together and fellowship one with another.  They would have had the need to understand what it meant to pray, when and how to pray. The disciples were already taught by Jesus and they had the responsibility to pass on that teaching to the new converts.  

How do we Teach New Converts Today?

Well, it was during a crusade that I gave my life to Christ.  Therefore, my church leaders were being obedient in preaching the gospel so that I would have an opportunity to give my life to Christ. I grew up attending the same church for all my life up to that point.  That meant that I had experienced many crusades prior to that date.  Like Peter spoke to that crowd, the speaker of the night spoke to the crowd I was in.  I was one of those people within that crowd who received the message and responded to the altar call. That night I knelt and prayed at the altar.  When I got up I was led by one of the leaders to the vestry where the pastor came to speak with us and invited us to attend a ‘New Converts’ class.  I believe it was a six week programme where the pastor, along with one of the deacons sat with us and explained what it meant to be a follower of Christ. They helped us to understand the decision we had made and how it would affect the rest of our lives.  We were then invited to attend a series of Bible study, designed for new converts, leading up to the week we would be baptized.  We then had the opportunity to commit to the process by making that step into watery baptism.

Once we were baptized, we were invited to attend the regular weekly Bible Study.  Later, our pastor also ran a six week evangelism training session. Throughout the length of the training he paired us up with the more mature believers and sent us out into the community.  Each team would have two or three houses to visit. In those houses were people who had stopped having fellowship with the saints.  We watched the more mature believers in action as they witness to individuals on the street, on their way to those selected homes.  We then watched the way they embraced and ministered to their brothers and sisters who had allowed the cares of the world to draw them from their first love.  It was beautiful seeing that expression of love as the saints encouraged the people, they once shared the Lord’s supper with, to return to the fold.  We had the theory as well as the practical lessons. Our church also had a day dedicated to prayer each week and a day dedicated to ‘fasting and praying’ once per month.  I would attend the prayer meeting each week with one or both grandparents.  The fasting session was during the day so I could only attend during the school holidays but it was still an investment into my Christian walk.

I was a teen when I gave my life to Christ so I had a double portion of Bible lessons as we also had our youth group’s version of Bible study with ‘Bible Drills’ as we studied for our annual debate and Bible Quiz. We also had many different ways to learn more about God and what He requires of us through studying selected parts of the bible for our annual Sunday school exams. For the annual church fund-raising concert, we were allowed to show how we understood the lessons we had learned in Sunday school or youth group by writing plays and poems to share with the saints on the night.  That was great for us as new born babes in Christ because it would force us to ask questions that would widen our understanding.

Teaching Babes in Christ:

When a mother gives birth she does not expect the baby to start eating without being fed, neither does she expect the baby to start walking the following day or changing its own nappy.  Likewise, new-born babes in Christ expect to be fed the Word of God which will help them to grow, spiritually. They will not automatically begin to do all that is expected of them as believers, overnight.  It will take a lot of teaching by the spoken word, through various ministry groups within as well as outside the fellowship and by the example set before them.  This become a more difficult task for leaders who are thrown in the deep end, with no understanding of what God expects from them or practical examples of how to handle conflict.  This can leave them feeling ill-prepared for the task before them which decreases their confidence to operate effectively in their leadership role.

To experience the kind of result Peter experienced, leaders must first learn the art of obedience. They must daily surrender to the will of God.  At the beginning of the book of Acts, we are told that 120 people, including the 11 disciples and Mary, the mother of Jesus, experienced the out pouring of the Holy Spirit.  Jesus had promised them in chapter 1:8 that they “…Shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” And that was fulfilled in Acts 2:1-11.  There were men of all nations dwelling in Jerusalem (see verse 5).  The disciples were all Galileans, yet every man heard them speak in his own language. Fear had leapt out of the disciples and they were able to come out and speak to the people; being witnesses for Christ.  The boldness received was even more evident as Peter preached to the crowd.  Their obedience in tarrying until the Holy Spirit came was what brought the result we read about in that chapter.  Over 3000 people were added to the 120, all of whom needed to be taught the teachings of Jesus.

That’s the beauty of teaching, we don’t keep it to ourselves, we share the knowledge with others; they then share with others and the Kingdom continues to grow.

Preaching

The Big Idea

By DrBillComments Off

HI All,lightbulb

The Big Idea of the sermon is technically called “the Proposition”.  It is a summary of your entire sermon in one sentence.  Some call it “the sermon in a sentence.”

Getting accurate on the Proposition is the most important step you can do as you begin work on your sermon.  Accurately capturing all you have to say in a single sentence will propel you forward to a successful sermon.  Arriving at the Proposition can be some of the hardest work you do in your sermon preparation.  It may take a couple of days to really nail it; you may have to precede it first with exegetical study of the passage, and an understanding of the culture into which the passage speaks.

But once you have the Big Idea, the Proposition, the Sermon in a Sentence, you are almost half-way there!

A finely crafted Proposition can deliver a powerful punch.

Sermon Example:  Ezekiel 18:1 – 30

This is a very long passage and argument from the Lord God to the people of Israel.  It is difficult enough to explain to adults, but what about mid-schoolers?  How would you explain this passage to teens, ages 12-14??  Nathan Miller of Brooklyn Park EFC taught this passage to just such an age group by really nailing the sermon in a sentence.  Here’s his Proposition, Big Idea, or Sermon in a Sentence for Ezekiel 18:

“Your soul is your responsibility.”

That captures it really well.

Once you have the Proposition, you are on your way to putting together a good sermon. Work hard at it, and you – but especially your people – will be rewarded.

For great preaching,

Dr. Bill

SermonBase.com

HighPowerResources.com

Preaching, Proposition, Sermon Preparation, Sermon Tips

5 Distractions to Your Preaching

By DrBillComments Off

Hey All,old style preacher

Just listened to a good podcast about preaching from The Sermonators (www.Sermonators.com), Smith and Southerland.  The name of the podcast is “Five Big Distractions in Sermon Delivery”.  They identify the following five distractions (I’ll just summarize them, and you can check out their podcast for details.):

1.  Walking Around

— Too much movement distracts from the words coming out of your mouth; pacing back and forth can make people feel like they are at a tennis match.

2.  Repetitive Words

— Can be really annoying and a big distraction

3.  Shock Words

— Just saying something just to get a reaction from people usually just ends up offending people at an emotional level, and then you have lost them for good.

4.  Loud Clothing

— Wearing clothing that is talking louder than you is not a good idea.

5.  Walking down into the audience

— You end up turning your back on some people, and they are more focused on where you are walking than what you are saying.

So, these are some good tips on sermon delivery.  Check out their podcast to hear all the details.  (Used with permission.)

For great preaching,

Dr. Bill

SermonBase.com

HighPowerResources.com

General, Preaching, Sermons

Sermon Symmetry

By DrBillComments Off

Symmetry is a description of how you write your Main Points.  “Symmetry” means “balanced proportions”.  If your sermon displays symmetry, it’s main points will be balanced and proportionate.  That is, each main point will seem to have an equal and valuable relationship with all of the other main points.  No main point will dominate, either in terms of importance, impact, or the amount of time you spend on it.butterfly

The three main benefits of sermon symmetry are:

1.  Understandable

Main Points with symmetry, make your sermon easy to follow and understand.

2.  Memorable

It is easy to remember a sermon with has symmetry flow.  I’m writing this blog from memory, based on the sermon symmetry I heard last night.

3.  Beautiful

Main Points with symmetry, are a thing of beauty.  (Note how the three points of this blog also display symmetry.)

Sermon Example:  Take a look at this sermon which I just listened to last night from Dr. John Crocker at Crossroads Church in Albert Lea, MN:

He was speaking on 2 Peter 1:1-12.  His mains were:

  1. Establish Your Identity  (2 Peter 1:1-4)
  2. Exercise Your Responsibility  (2 Peter 1:5-8)
  3. Erase Your Uncertainty  (2 Peter 1:9-12)

This sermon contains symmetry.  Each main is a command verb (Establish, Exercise, Erase). Each main begins with the letter “E”.  Each main is focused on You.  Each key word at the end has a symmetry as well, with each one ending with a “-ty” ending.

This is not just word play.  This gives a sermon memorable power and greater impact in people’s lives.

Yours for better preaching,

Dr. Bill

SermonBase.com

HighPowerResources.com

Preaching, Sermon Tips, Sermons

Recovering the Great Commission

By Gladys Perez-NejudneComments Off

by piotr krakowczyk

Recovering the Great Commission – reflection on Matthew 28:16-20 and Matthew 10:7-8

The Great Commission can be found at the end of Mathew’s Gospel: “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you” (28:19-20). There is, however, a less known commission of Jesus in which He tells His disciples: “As you go, preach this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven is near.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, drive out demons. Freely you have received, freely you give” (Matthew 10:7-8). Unfortunately, this commission has practically disappeared from the missionary strategies of our Churches. A few of us dare to heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, or drive out demons. We prefer to speak, to teach, and to baptize, and enjoy a quite good income out of all these activities.

The message – the kingdom of God is near

During ten years of my ministry, I have gone to many nations, preached thousands of sermons, given lectures and conferences on various topics, and baptized many people, mostly children. And I can’t complain: this work provided me with enough financial assistance to live a comfortable life. Perhaps, I could dare to say that I am fulfilling the Great Commission of Jesus quite well. However, a few things puzzle me when I look closer at my missionary life: the content of my preaching and teaching; God’s hand stretching to heal and perform miraculous signs and wonders; and the Gospel being preached free of charge.

“The kingdom of God is near.” The content of this message is that God comes to rule over His people. As if He has made up His mind, seeing our suffering and misery, and decided to do something about it. “I have seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and specious land, a land flowing with milk and honey” (Exodus 3:7-8). God comes to claim us back for Himself. He claims us back from the forces of evil, and He decides to restore us and give us back our very lives.

Jesus and His disciples succeeded in preaching this message. They helped the people to “see” that God is concerned with a sparrow; they enable the people to realize that everyone is precious in God’s eyes; and they were able to point out that the end of life is not emptiness and nothingness, but a joyful banquet in the God’s presence. Moreover, they did not only speak about it; they made into a reality.

The power of message – signs and wonders

“Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, drive out demons.” What a fascinating passage! What a commission! Yet, what have we – Christians of the twenty first century – done with these words? Many theologians and pastors came out with a hypothesis that sees all signs and wonders recorded in the Gospel as a myth or fairy tale. There are even Churches who claim that the era of signs and wonders was confined to the Apostolic Church. Thus, the miracles ended long time ago, and now is the era of knowledge and science. Could it be true? Could this explain the lack of miracles in the midst of our Christian congregations? But then, what about those who actually were able to fulfill this commission, those who healed the sick, raised the dead, cleansed the lepers, and drove out demons? His name was John Sung (1901-44), born in the home of a Methodist pastor in Fujian, China. He is considered one among the greatest Chinese evangelist of 20th century. There were numerous cases of healing in his ministry. For example, instant recovery from a near fatal heart attack, the lame walking, the leprous being made clean, and the deaf and dumb being made whole. It was May 1988, Suangzang, Myanmar. Kam Cin Hau conducted a prayer meeting during which many people converted to Christianity and many were healed.

A hypothesis is a suggested explanation of a phenomenon. However, in the scientific world, any hypothesis requires testing, and one fact that contradicts a hypothesis is sufficient to disclaim it. The two above mentioned examples clearly indicate that signs and wonders are still part of Christian preaching. And there are more examples that could be cited in this matter. There seems to be no escape from concluding that if signs and wonders are missing from our proclamation, then there is something wrong. Jesus always meant what he said. If He said, “go and heal,” He meant it that way, and He promised to stretch out His hand and do the signs and wonders.

Read the rest of the article here.

 

Preaching

How to Know the Will of God through Expository Preaching

By Gladys Perez-NejudneComments Off

How to Know the Will of God through Expository Preaching

by Carlton Pruitt

We gather together this evening brethren to lay before us the importance of understanding the will of the Lord and the way that we discover the will of God is in His word the Bible. You see the Bible reveals God’s MIND, therefore, we are to KNOW it. It reveals the WILL of God, therefore, we are to OBEY it and it reveals the HEART of God, therefore, we are to LOVE it.

Now this is not original with me brethren but it is a wise truth that I once learned among others and as all truths are wise as they are found in the word of God.

Let’s take up the topic of expository preaching. What is it? First of all expository preaching seeks to weld together the Biblical text under consideration and the contemporary world. John Stott said that it is his conviction that all Christian preaching is expository preaching. You see we can not see expository preaching as just one of many different styles such as topical or evangelistic, devotional or apologetic or prophetic.

Expository preaching is not just an accurate commentary on the Bible or a word study tied in with various lucid illustrations but it is declaring what God has said. It is explaining the meaning of the Bible which is first declaring what God has said. How can we explain the meaning? The meaning of what? The meaning of the Bible and what God has said. Therefore, we must declare the doctrine as found in the Scripture, the word of God, to announce or state
it in the plainess language possible, then we seek to explain or expound its meaning and then we show its relevance or practical application.

We apply it to the listeners heart or we seek to apply it to the listeners heart. Only the Holy Spirit, the only true teacher and third person of the Godhead, can truly bring about an understanding of the word and convict men of their sins. Perhaps one of the reasons some preaching today lacks effectiveness is because the Holy Spirit has not seen fit to enlighten our understanding and to convict of sin, righteousness and judgment.

Remember the parable of the sower? Some of the seed representing the word of God, fell on stony ground and among throns where there was either no root so the people had an emotional response, maybe made a profession and were baptized, even entered the visible church but there was no true saving faith, no priciple of grace. No root. Christ is not in them. Why? The ground is stony and hard. Hardness of heart will make the soil or soul unfit to receive the word of God which is Jesus Christ our root. Or the cares and riches of the world choked the word out. The word got crowded out as a field of weeds chokes out the good seed.

I remember once planting a garden with several rows of corn. I wasn’t diligent in tending to this garden. Oh, yes, I watered it enough and it got plenty of sunshine but I let the weeds spring up unchecked and uncontrolled. Guess what? These weeds choked out that good corn and made it unfruitful and unproductive. Never did I see weeds grow so fast and furious. They strangled the souls of many professors. These are the religious people who never completely cast off their profession of Christ, who, nevertheless, love this world and culture and philosophy. They seek their peace and security and joy in what the world offers instead of what the word commands.

1 John 2:15 says, “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world.”

Some people are mindless simpletons who never ponder the word preached. After church they talk about anything and everything except the preacher’s sermon. Thus they neglect the word. They neither understand nor take pains to understand it and so Satan, the arch enemy of our souls, snatches the word before it is hid in the heart. Like birds that pick up the visible seed on the ground so Satan picks up the word that lies bare and naked on the surface of the heart.

David said, the Psalmist, “Thy word have I hid in my hear that I might not sin against three.”
Hearing is not equivalent to hiding it. We must hear and by meditation and prayer so hide the word in the heart that the Devil can not take the word from us.

Knowing therefore these truths, let us give a more earnest heed to the things which we have heard preached and which we have read in our Bibles.

Carlton Pruitt ministers the gospel to the Los Angeles area. Formerly a Hollywood actor (SAG member)and junk removal expert he now spends most of his time studying the scriptures, writing articles, hymns and poems and doing street preaching. See the original article here.

 

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