Preaching Through Spiritual Disciplines (Preaching Through the Bible)
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The Westminster Confession of Faith By this faith, a Christian believeth to be true whatsoever is revealed in the Word, for the authority of God Himself speaking therein; and acteth differently upon that which each particular passage thereof contains ; yielding obedience to the commands , trembling at the threatenings , and embracing the promises of God for this life, and that which is to come.
Feeding Yourself to Feed Others
But the principal acts of saving faith are accepting, receiving, and resting upon Christ alone for justification, sanctification, and eternal life, by virtue of the covenant of grace. Often doctrine and duty truth and command, gospel and law, indicative and imperative , not to mention threatenings and promises and love songs and laments, come interwoven with one another in the biblical text, just as our everyday conversations blend appeals or demands with rationales and motivations. A topical sermon enjoining truth-telling could certainly appeal to Ephesians When pastors preach passages as we find them in the Bible, our listeners are drawn into the lively conversation that our God has initiated and carried with his people.
How can we preach to meet the diversity of spiritual conditions represented in the folks sitting attentively before us as we enter the pulpit?
Manual Preaching Through Spiritual Disciplines (Preaching Through the Bible)
Expository preaching is often associated with continuous sermon series that work through one book of the Bible after another. This practice of continuously preaching through books or sections of Scripture over a span of weeks or months or years, called lectio continua continuous reading , has ancient and honorable pedigree.
Church fathers such as Origen and John Chrysostom planned and conducted their preaching agenda this way. It models the sound practice of reading each passage in the Bible in context. Consider the numbers.
Pastors with extraordinary expository preaching ministries may sustain lectio continua series in a single book over a span of years. During his ministry to Westminster Chapel, Dr. That is the equivalent of seven years of messages, although the series actually extended over thirteen years. A lectio continua series of expository sermons could also focus on discrete units within books for example, the Joseph narrative in Genesis 37—50, or the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5—7. The distinctive spiritual challenges confronting the congregation should be taken into account in selecting biblical books, or sections of books, to be preached.
Old refers to these categories throughout this seven-volume series.
Dargan, rev. New York; London: Harper, , We will call them, for convenience, sermons without context. Grand Rapids: Baker, , italics original. The first edition appeared in Outward hard work, however, can come from a sinful inward disposition. All of us, pastors included, can work hard for the wrong reasons.
For selfish ambition. For mere kudos and applause. From deep emotional insecurity. What, then, are the right reasons for hard work in pastoral ministry? We first own, in our own souls the Christian gospel, not another. We aim to labor from fullness of soul, not from emptiness.
Such is the heart of the Protestant work ethic, noticeably distinct from the prevailing medieval ethic, which came before it and challenged it at every turn. The first word to every pastor, as to every Christian, is not, Work , but, He worked.
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It is finished. Look to the labors of Christ. Look how he rose early to meditate and pray, how he navigated intrusive crowds, and had patience with maturing disciples, and untiringly did the works of his Father, and fielded inconvenient pleas from the sick and disabled and disadvantaged. The Reformation recovery of such ultimate rest for the soul produced a different kind of people — and a different kind of pastor. Not a lazy and apathetic people. But the kind of people with new energy and freedom, new vision and hope, fresh initiatives, fresh freedom from self, and new desires to expend self for the good of others.
The kind of people who have the Spirit of God at work in and through them. Those who best know the grace of God in Christ — and pastors should know him well, if not best — are the freest people on the planet to give themselves to work hard. In him, we have been freed from self-protection to pour out our energy and give our time and skill and creativity to blessing others, rather than serving self.
Good pastors lead with and model, as examples to the church, a new ethic for all those who are in Christ Ephesians — inwardly first, and then unavoidably outward. With such a heart, then, we receive the mantle of preaching and teaching not mainly as a privilege but as a call to self-sacrifice. Not mainly as an honor, but as a summons to gladly bear a burden for others. Not mainly as comfort, but as a calling to hard work. And for a happier soul.
The Priority of Preaching in the Local Church – From the Study
We understand these disciplines. They're the ones that were in the gospel reading where Jesus says to his followers: " When you give to people in need … when you pray … when you fast. As a follower of Christ it will be a part of your life to choose spiritual disciplines like this. And he makes this one central point: When you do them, don't ever do them to try to prove to yourself or someone else how spiritual you are. The only reason to do the spiritual disciplines that you choose is because you have a Heavenly Father who sees you, who longs to draw you close, and who wants to reward you with the intimacy of his presence, with the tenderness of his compassionate word to you, who wants to give you the grace that you need for this moment.
And that reward, that should be so compelling that yes, you would even do these disciplines as difficult as they are. It is not easy to give money when you know you might need it. In fact, you do need it. It's not easy to pray, to set aside time and to stop our motion and the self-management of our life and cry out in need. It is not easy to fast and go without food or something and feel the hunger. Kevin A. Miller is the senior pastor at Church of the Savior in Wheaton, Illinois.