Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The preaching of the gospel demands that we please God

(3) For our appeal does not spring from error or impurity or any attempt to deceive, (4) but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts. (5) For we never came with words of flattery, as you know, nor with a pretext for greed--God is witness. (6) Nor did we seek glory from people, whether from you or from others, though we could have made demands as apostles of Christ.
1Th 2:3-6

Christians have been entrusted with the gospel. Since the gospel is the gospel of God and not our own gospel, the preaching of the gospel demands that we please God, and not man.

The problem with many preachers is that they preach to fill seats and not to save souls. This leads to all kinds of preaching that is not gospel driven, but rather aimed at flattering people. What so many preachers have forgotten is that a filled seat does not translate automatically to a saved heart.

If our preaching of the gospel is not the preaching of the true gospel of God, we simply will not see the salvation of people but rather the alteration of people. This is accomplished by all kinds of programmes. People are altered, like suits are altered, all the time. Programmes like Alcoholics Anonymous, and even other religions do this all the time! We do not preach a self-help programme!

However, only the true preaching of the gospel can truly bring the message of salvation to people. People driven preaching brings more people, but it saves no one! It usually means that the natural offensiveness of the gospel is watered down to make the message palatable to the world, ending up with a gospel that does not save, but rather strokes the ego of men.

We do not preach the gospel to make people feel better, i.e. pleasing them, but we preach the gospel so that mankind can understand their "lostness" without Christ, and how they fall short of the holy standards of God. We tell people they deserve hell, however, in Christ there is a Saviour, One that has paid the penalty of sin, One that made propitiation by His blood before a holy God. We tell them that without Christ they are lost, and they will not see the face of God after death.

We do not pander to the philosophies of this life, nor the psychological drivel sold to us daily in magazines and newspapers. Neither do we follow the latest church-growth fad to fill our pews.

No, we preach the gospel to please God, and God alone!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Preaching and the Sermon Builder

Preaching is a hot topic among some, but come on! You either do it right or get out! That is how strong I feel about preaching.

Most of what goes for preaching these days are motivational speeches. Take this sermon motivational speech, for instance. If ever I heard an empty sermon, this is it! There is just no exposition of the text.

Remember, using texts from Scripture in a speech does not a sermon make. That isn't what qualifies the speech as Biblical preaching! Biblical preaching must be the exposition of the text at hand. For an example of my favourite Biblical preacher, John Piper, read, listen or watch his sermon, "This Is the Judgment: Light Has Come into the World."

If someone's preaching is shallow, with no exposition of the text, and full of platitudes, then that person is doing a disservice to the Lord he claims to serve. He obviously does not understand the gravity of Biblical preaching!

Remember, preaching is the proclamation of the very Word of God, the only message that carries the truth God wanted to share with us! It is the only message that carries the way to God, and that, dear reader, makes it the most important message in heaven and on earth! Are you willing to mess with that? I hope not!

The Shepherd's Fellowship has created a Sermon Builder. Here is a blurb concerning their sermon tool:

"Welcome to the Sermon Builder – a step-by-step guide for expository sermon preparation. While the Sermon Builder will not write someone's sermon for them, it is intended to lead pastors and Bible teachers through the basic steps of exegesis and exposition. It is our desire that even the experienced expositor, as he works his way through the Sermon Builder, will be refreshed and reminded of helpful principles and truths."

This is a tool that many pastors should be using to not only improve their sermons, but to guide them towards being Biblical in their preaching. Please start using this tool ASAP!

Here are also some other posts I wrote on preaching:

Reading on preaching
MUST Bible teachers be trained in the Biblical languages?
The "bumper sticker" gospel
Good sermon
Reading the 'non-existent' into the text

Friday, May 22, 2009

Who are your favourite living Bible teachers/preachers?

We all make lists of things, from our favourite sports teams, to food, to movies and more. Steve Camp posed this question, "Who are your favourite living Bible teachers/preachers?", and I would like to put down my top ten:

1. John Piper
2. John MacArthur
3. Al Mohler
4. James R. White
5. D.A. Carson
6. John Reisinger
7. R.C. Sproul
8. Phil Johnson (the original PyroManiac)
9. Alistair Begg
10. Martin Holdt

Who are your favourite living Bible teachers/preachers?

Friday, May 01, 2009

Might Men Conference and change

I think that most people like a good conference every now and again. And, in the world of conferences there are conferences that suit almost everyone. Well, perhaps not in South Africa, but when I look at the North American conference scene, there really are conferences to suit almost anyone!

When it comes to Christian conferences, each conference has its own aim.

Looking at the Mighty Men Conference (MMC), run by Angus Buchan of Shalom Ministries, I couldn't find a clear statement of purpose for these conferences. It seems to be that the aim is to get men to take up their leadership and "priestly" roles in their families, and to be the spiritual leaders that God requires of them.

There is a real excitement about these conferences among Christians in South Africa. Last year, the first MMC attracted about 60,000 men to Angus Buchan's farm. This year, there were in excess of 170,000 men that attended this weekend conference.

Somehow this conference with so many men should result in a change in communities all across the country where all these men come from. Just as a comparison, there were more men at this conference than the amount of people that voted for the ACDP in the national elections of 22 April 2009.

Now, here is the challenge! The Biblical Christian Network, which was only recently formed, organizes anti-abortion demonstrations called LIFECHAINS. It further will be organizing anti-pornography demonstrations at strategic locations such as at the headquarters of e.TV. We will organize such Christian action events at various times.

So, what is the challenge? Those Mighty Men that attended the MMC, should show their willingness to change their communities and this country. Be involved in preaching the gospel, and attend demonstrations as mentioned above. Watch the BCN website or join the BCN group on Facebook to be notified of such events.

If the MMC conference does not result in changed families, communities and country, the question must be asked whether the MMC is worth it.

So, MMC conferees, show that you have been sufficiently challenged, not just to have attended the MMC, but to want to make a difference in this nation.

Don't remain undercover agents for Christ, but stand up in the face of adversity for the gospel of Jesus Christ and in the fight for justice for widows, orphans and the weak.

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