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Sermon Worth Hearing on Racism

I’m not always the biggest Jordan Hall fan but this sermon he preached on racism is worth hearing.  I subscribe to his podcast and enjoyed this sermon very much.  I agree with him.  The answer to our national troubles (and world for that matter) is simple: the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Nothing else can transform like the gospel (2 Corinthians 5:17).

My prayer is that the Church will preach the gospel.  The answer is not found in summits, endless articles on race, giving in to socialists like #blacklivesmatter but rather the answer for the Christian is simple: preach the gospel.  Preach the gospel to all men (Matthew 28:19-20) and make disciples of all men.  Jesus died so that all colors of people can come and be one in Christ Jesus.  Just as the Lord divided the people because of their sins in Genesis 11 so the Lord reunited His people in Acts 2.  That is the power of the gospel.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

07/17/2016 at 12:43 PM

We Will Not Bow

Here is a link to a sermon by Dr. John MacArthur called “We Will Not Bow.”  I highly recommend it.

You can find the sermon here.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

07/25/2015 at 7:56 PM

Signs of a Good Sermon

I listen to preaching a lot.  I mean a lot!  I drive for a living so I spend hours on the road so I fill my phone with preaching.  I listen to all types of preaching from Pentecostals to hard core Calvinists.  I subscribe to a few podcasts but I don’t mind finding a sermon title and just downloading it onto my phone and off I go.  While I am not a perfect critic of sermons, I have listened enough to know when I am about to hear a good sermon.  A few have surprised me along the way and started out bad but turned good or vise versa.  Yet I still enjoy listening to good preaching.

So what does it take for me to say a sermon is good?  Let me just run through some points.

1.  The Text of Scripture.

First, does the teacher open with the text of Scripture.  Seeker guys and poor preachers often open with goofy skits, clips from television shows or movies, man-centered stories, or just an illustration that is neither good nor bad.  They just don’t start with the text.  A good teacher will always begin with the Bible, stay true to the Bible, and teach the text.  The text dominates.  The text is the focus.  The text produces the points.

Secondly, the Bible remains the focus throughout the sermon.  The focus is not on pleasing flesh.  The focus remains from the start to the end, the glory of God in His Word (2 Corinthians 4:5).  The Scriptures alone speak for God (2 Timothy 3:16-17).  A good sermon will stay focused throughout on the Word of God.  The focus is not on “seven points to your joy” but the focus is the text to the glory of the King.

2.  Knowledge of the Text.

Does the teacher own the text?  Is it clear that the teacher has studied the text and they know it?  I love it when a good Bible teacher has even memorized the text because they have poured over the text over and over and over again.  Lazy teachers don’t do that.  They just pick out their title, find their points, find their proof-texts, and go.  The faithful Bible teacher (2 Timothy 2:2) will study the text until he has drained every ounce of life from it (and he will still find more when he comes back to it).  The faithful Bible teacher is hungry to hear from God in His holy Word (Psalm 1:1-2; 119:30).  The good Bible teacher will draw from the text, teach the text, show the context of the text, use proper exegesis to teach from the text, and never uses his text as a pre-text.

3.  Few Illustrations.

Illustrations are fine but some rob God of His glory.  Some illustrations make the illustration the focus rather than the text of Scripture.  The good Bible teacher wants you to remember his text and the teaching from the text instead of their illustrations.  This is why I think illustrations should be few and never take away from the glory of God in His Word.  Further, a good sermon will have biblical illustrations that show how the text is revealed in other parts of the Word of God.  Biblical illustrations are timeless while others often are not.  And again, you want people to hear the Word of God and not your word.  Your word doesn’t save sinners.  God’s Word saves sinners (Romans 10:17).

4.  Exaltation of Christ and Deification of Man.

The good sermon will always focus on the glory of Jesus Christ.  Jesus showed His disciples how He was revealed in all of Scripture (Luke 24:27).  From Genesis to Revelation, the focus is on the Lord Jesus Christ.  Jesus is our everything!  Jesus is the very reason we live and breath and He is our life (Colossians 3:1-3).  Jesus is the wisdom of God (Colossians 2:3).  Jesus must be the One that we want people to adore and honor.

And yet poor sermons will focus on man.  They will focus often on the teacher with the teacher constantly telling you stories about themselves or other people.  The sermon is full of points aimed at us rather than Christ.  The poor sermon will focus on how the text helps us.  The poor sermon will focus on flesh rather than the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Was this the preaching of Paul (1 Corinthians 2:1-5)?  Was this the preaching of Peter (2 Peter 1:16-21)?

Sermons should focus on Jesus and honor Him as Lord and Savior.

5.  Is the Gospel Preached?

Many sermons start off good but turn to law.  The well-meaning teacher wants to help us pray more, to witness more, to love our wives more, to honor God with our money more, to help us to sing more, etc. yet they turn to law instead of gospel to produce this.  The motivation for the disciple of Jesus is not law but gospel.  Every sermon should focus on the gospel and how the gospel helps us along the way.  None of us are capable of perfectly pleasing the Father.  Jesus did that for us.  None of us are perfectly able to keep the law.  Jesus did that for us.  Jesus is our salvation and when He said, “It is finished” (John 19:30), it was done!  We now keep the law of Christ but not out of works mentality trying to produce righteous from God (Romans 4:5) but out of love for the Savior (John 14:15).  And yet we still struggle to perfectly obey Christ (1 John 2:1).  Thankfully, Jesus is our salvation and He is our high priest before God the Father (1 John 2:2).

The gospel then must take precedence over the law.  The law reveals my sinfulness before a holy God (1 Timothy 1:8-11) but the grace of God is what helps (or assists me in the words of Charles Wesley) to obey the Lord God (Titus 2:12).  Because we are now under grace and not law, we aim to please the Lord (Romans 6:1-4).  The gospel is our focus and Jesus is our perfect example that we walked after (1 John 2:6).  However, we are not saved by our works but by the grace of God given to us freely in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 2:8-9) so that we might now do good works (Ephesians 2:10).  To quote the Lutherans: God doesn’t need your good works, your neighbor does.  Grace works in us (1 Corinthians 15:10).  Grace is what the good sermon must proclaim!

6.  A Call to Repent.

I think a good sermon should also include a call to repent.  Not all agree with me here.  I have heard many good sermons that didn’t end with a call to repent.  Some just end.  Yet I think that we should always call people to forsake their sins and place their faith in Christ alone for salvation.  We don’t have to do an altar call but we should call people to repentance.  The Lord may be gracious to save the humble (2 Timothy 2:24-26).  I understand that not every text of Scripture is dealing with salvation but if our focus is on Christ (as it should be), then we will glorify Christ who is the Savior of all men but especially of those who believe (1 Timothy 4:10). If Christ is truly glorified, how can we not proclaim that He will save sinners who come to Him (Luke 19:10)?  How can we preach Christ but miss calling people to repent of their sins (Acts 17:30-31)?

Conclusion

I suppose I could write more (and I know I could).  Good sermons are hard to find.  The seeker church has destroyed good preaching.  Since pragmatism now reigns in the Western Church, poor preaching is often passed along as good preaching (because of the crowds).  Good expository preaching is hard to find.  I have been asking the Father to raise up more and more faithful Bible teachers who will be expositors of His inerrant and infallible Word.  The duty of the Bible teacher is not to entertain.  It is to train (Ephesians 4:11-16; 2 Timothy 4:2).  I pray that you don’t find yourself in Luke 6:26!

Why I Prefer Expository Preaching Over Series Preaching

Expository preaching is the art in preaching verse by verse through the Bible.  Typically the Bible teacher will spend their time reading commentaries, examining the context over and over again, re-reading the text over and over again and meditating on the Word of God until the text is their own.  They begin to preach the text by showing how this section of Scripture fits not just within the context in which it is found but also how it fits into the overall plan and purposes of God.  Expository preaching seeks to teach the Word of God, to explain the Scriptures, and to show New Testament disciples who Christ is in the text and how it exalts Him.

Series preaching has become the new passion for evangelicals.  In my city I know of only a few expository churches.  Nearly all the churches in my area are series sermons and almost all are topical in nature.  The topics vary.  For example, a large Pentecostal church near us is preaching on heaven right now.  I suppose they are basing it off the horrible book, Heaven is for Real.  I hope not.  Another church is doing a series on Samson.  Another church is doing a series called “Real Life.”  Another church is doing their “summer” series and focusing on “Faith and Family.”

Sermon series are popular for several reasons all of which would be pragmatic.  Some preachers buy their sermon series’ from people such as Rick Warren.  Some steal sermons from famous preachers such as Ed Young.  Some will simply read a book and borrow concepts from that book.  Leonard Ravenhill use to say that he could listen to a preacher for five minutes and discern if his sermon came from God or a book.  Some preachers will do sermon series’ because they actually have a sermon committee who helps them plan preaching.  They will take a calendar and plan out their preaching.  Other churches have given surveys of their churches or even their area to see what people want the preacher to preach on and then he prepares sermons based on the surveys.  Other preachers just copy what the more successful churches are doing in hopes that they too can be that big.  Again, pragmatism is the dominant rule here.

Expository sermons are not popular for the above reasons and more.  For one, expository preaching requires you to work the text.  Sadly, few preachers seem to want to do that.  For instance, John MacArthur spends nearly 40 hours a week on his sermons.  Now obviously most churches are not as big as MacArthur’s church and MacArthur has the luxury of being able to have a staff that allows him to prepare that much.  Most do not.  Sermon series’ are easier to prepare than expository sermons and they require little from the preacher other than his ability to speak.  Expository sermons require labor in the Word, labor in word studies, labor in reading Bible commentaries, labor in developing the outline of the text and working through the text with the people.  In short, expository sermons do not feed the weak preacher and his desire to be “relevant” but instead force the preacher to actually wrestle with the Word of God.  Something that is not always easy nor fun (Hebrews 4:12-13) especially if the preacher is living a shallow life.

Expository sermons also typically drive off the goats.  Let’s face the fact that most churches are full of goats.  They are not following Christ at all during the week and show up either thinking that they are pleasing God by being at church or they just come because of habit.  Yet their hearts are far from God.  They don’t pray, don’t spend time in His presence during the week, never share their faith even to the own family members, and they don’t even think about God much during the week unless they use His name in vain or they get into trouble.  These goats love sermon series preaching.  They love having their ears tickled by the shallowness of the preaching (2 Timothy 4:3-4).  The last thing they want to hear is an expositor opening the Word of God to them and confronting them in their sins.

For the sheep, however, expository preaching is refreshing and it feeds them (John 21:15; 1 Peter 2:1-3).  Sheep long to move from milk to meat (Hebrews 5:11-6:3).  Sheep long to hear the voice of God speaking to them from His Word (John 8:47; 10:27).  Sheep are not sitting under godly leadership (Hebrews 13:7) because it is cool or relevant but they long to know Jesus and bless His name and make Him known among the nations.  Expository preaching opens the Word of God to the sheep and allows the Holy Spirit to do His deep work of convicting and sanctification (John 17:17).  Expository preaching develops the sheep to love Jesus more and more and to love His Word more and more and to seek to see Him in all the Scriptures.

By the way, an expositor can do sermon series’ based on their studies.  For example, one could find so many sermon series’ by preaching verse by verse through the sermon on the mount in Matthew 5-7.  One could literally spend many mouths camped out in Matthew 5-7 working through the text.

My prayer is that God will raise up more expositors of His Word.  We have thousands of churches that are pragmatic churches focused on numbers and on money but oh to have godly churches that are focused on the glory of God and living out the New Testament.  Oh to have men of God who are broken by the Word of God and long to make known God’s Word to both the lost and to the redeemed.  Oh to have men of God who labor in prayer and in study over the Word of God and who are passionate to make known the truth of God verse by verse to the people of God.  Oh to have churches that love Jesus more than anything and who are not interested in worldly results, milking goats, and living off stale bread.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

05/29/2014 at 1:39 PM

The Pulpit: Its Powers and Pitfalls by Alistair Begg

I would encourage you whether you are a Bible teacher or not to take a listen to Alistair Begg preaching on the subject of preaching from 1 Corinthians 2:1-5.  Brother Begg speaks on biblical preaching and what is the source of our power.  His sermon is right on and I enjoyed it tremendously.

You can listen to part B here which I considered the best portion of the sermon.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

08/21/2013 at 10:16 AM

Thinking Biblically About Homosexuality

In light of the Supreme Court ruling today on same-sex “marriage”, I believe we need to go back to the Word of God and allow it to teach us what God thinks about homosexuality.  Below is a link to Dr. John MacArthur preaching on this subject.  His teaching here is excellent and should be listened to by every true disciple of Jesus.

You can find the teaching here.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

06/26/2013 at 12:27 PM

Distractions in the Holy Place by David Wilkerson

Here is a great sermon from the late brother David Wilkerson.  When I first heard this message, I was on my face in repentance (Acts 3:19-20).  God often used brother David to pierce my hard heart and to show me my sins.  I praise God that though he is dead, he still speaks (Hebrews 11:4).

You can find the sermon here.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

05/30/2013 at 2:28 PM

Posted in Sermons

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