Posts tagged ‘preaching’

April 25, 2014

Daily Devotional (April 25th): My Heart and The preached Word

by Aaron Dunlop

MIS85-2

“As I sat in that folding chair and listened to Bruce preach, I knew that I had never heard anything like this. It corresponded to scripture, and to what I had been reading in the Bible. But I had never heard anyone talk like this from the pulpit…. There was no question in my mind, as the tears started to run down my face: I had just barely started on the journey of my repentance. And here I had thought that I had repented in full and that my pain was the result of R’s sin. Ha! This sermon hit me hard across the face: I was suffering from my own sin, from the pride that was still rising high in my heart, and from my false sense of entitlement and deserved goods…. I was scribbling notes as fast and as furiously as I could. I felt like someone parched gulping water in panic and frenzy…. I walked the two blocks to my apartment slowly and gingerly, as if injured. Never in my life had I had a spiritual experience like this. I felt like I had just come as close as I ever had to understanding the living Jesus.” (p. 75–76)

Reading: Now when Ezra had prayed, and when he had confessed, weeping and casting himself down before the house of God, there assembled unto him out of Israel a very great congregation of men and women and children: for the people wept very sore. —Ezra 10:1

Selections from The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert by Rosaria Champagne Butterfield (Pittsburgh: Crown & Covenant, 2012). Used with permission.

 

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February 29, 2012

Daily Devotionals: (Feb. 29th) The Message of the Church

by colinmercer

The New Testament Church: Learning from the first disciples of Christianity

Reading: “Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.” Acts 3:6

What can the church say to a world ruined by sin? There is only one answer to this question.

Peter did not tell the beggar at the gate to beg some more, for that would have benefitted him for a only short time. Neither did he tell him to ignore his situation and be content with his plight, for that would have filled him with crushing despair. Peter told him something that he wasn’t expecting: “Silver and gold have I none, but such as I have give I thee: in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.”

There are two great parts to Peter’s statement: one involved a correction. This beggar was expecting something to fix his temporal needs. But Peter spoke in such a way as to redirect him. When he said, “Silver and gold have I none,” he was making it clear that such things were not the most important things. His correction of the beggar was quickly followed by his counsel to the beggar, for Peter went on to say, “In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.”

That was a Christ-centered word. It was a converting, transforming, and delivering message, and it was spoken with authority and accompanied with power. At once the lame man stood up and walked.

So back to my question, what can the church say to a world ruined by sin? We can tell a sin-ruined people of a Christ who is mighty to save. Preachers can tinker with the problems of society—politics, pastimes, pleasures, and philosophies—but to what avail? What would the church accomplish? Nothing!

We need to speak in the name of Christ and proclaim the great news that Jesus Christ alone can save from sin. Let us give ourselves to that work.


February 16, 2012

Daily Devotionals: (Feb. 16th) Convicting Preaching

by colinmercer

The New Testament Church: Learning from the first disciples of Christianity

Reading: “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.” Acts 2:36

The Jews were a self-righteous people. They prided themselves in having Abraham as their father, boasted of their special relationship to God, and reveled in ceremony and customs. A proud Jew was a common sight in Jerusalem. But on the day of Pentecost, Peter delivered a convicting and devastating blow to that pride.

With laser-like accuracy Peter charged them of a particular sin—the crucifixion of Christ. They had refused Him as the Messiah, hounded Him throughout His earthly ministry, falsely accused Him before Pilate, and demanded His death. While the Roman soldiers carried it out, Jewish hands were all over His crucifixion. And Peter did not miss the point. This was no easy task for the apostle-preacher. He was standing before his own countrymen, but he came right to the heart of their guilt.

There are times when the preacher must preach hard words. Sin needs to be exposed. The sharp sword of the Spirit must be thrust in again and again so that the guilt of sin can be revealed and the sinner made to sense his sin. This is not an easy or popular task. Raw nerves are often hit and angry responses usually follow, but faithfulness to God and love to souls will allow no other approach. Peter’s message was owned of God for it was followed by the conversion of over 3,000 souls. Pray for the convicting of God in the preaching of His Word—it is to be desired, not despised. It is the work of God in the pulling down of the strongholds of sin in the life (2 Corinthians 10:4).

January 17, 2012

What has happened to the preaching of the Word? Part 2: The Grand Purpose of Preaching

by colinmercer

A quick survey of the opening chapters of the book of Acts reveals the stark contrast between first-century Christianity and twenty-first-century Christianity. In Acts the church was marked by vitality, harmony, and a clear Christ-centered testimony. Today however, the church is powerless, divided, and the centre of unsavory controversy.

The contrast between then and now is perhaps most clearly seen in the pulpit. Modern preaching is a far cry from the preaching in Acts 2. In my last blog on this subject I considered the primacy of the New Testament, but let’s move on and think on the purpose of New Testament preaching.

Why did Peter and the other men stand up and speak to the crowds in Jerusalem? It was to convey a message from the Lord. Those men were filled with the Holy Ghost and immediately they began to speak. That indicates that the Holy Ghost was prompting them. He gave them the words to say. He filled their hearts and mouths with the very message—that’s the purpose of preaching.

In a message on this subject, Dr. Albert Martin defined evangelism as “communicating with words the God-revealed truths which comprise the foundation and substance of the gospel along with the demands, entreaties and promises of the gospel.” That’s what the apostles were about on the day of Pentecost. They were not there to promote a man-centered philosophy of life or to bring a message from their own band or group. They were there to be the Lord’s messengers in the Lord’s message! They were speaking as ambassadors of Christ. They had received a word from Him and they delivered that message in His name. The apostles were in touch with God.

This lies at the heart of the failure of the modern pulpit. Speakers have taken the place of preachers. Human theories have displaced the authority of the inspired and infallible Word of God. Ready-made “Internet sermons” have replaced messages that have been burned by the Holy Ghost into the heart of the preacher in his study. The whole purpose of preaching—bringing a word from God—has been lost in the professionalism of the pulpit. Who can be surprised that modern preaching is powerless?”

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