Soli Deo Gloria

Preaching

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Summary Outline:
1. The Mark of Preaching
2. God’s People Are Built by God’s Word
3. What Is Preaching?
4. Expositional Preaching
5. Preaching Drives a Church
6. Gospel-Centered Preaching
7. Preaching as a “Dying Man to Dying Men”


1. The Mark of Preaching
The right and sincere preaching of the Word of God is a mark of a biblical church we intend to reflect at Redeemer Baptist Church. We intend to practice this mark because it’s commanded and practiced in Scripture. (Acts 2:41-42; Romans 10:14-17; Colossians 1:28-29; 2 Timothy 4:16-4:5; etc.) Further, we know that we need preaching even as Israel did when their teachers read from the Scriptures and clearly gave the sense of the text so that people understood the reading. (Nehemiah 8:8) Preaching is necessary both theologically and methodologically. John Stott wrote:

Preaching is indispensable to Christianity. Without preaching a necessary part of its authenticity has been lost. For Christianity is, in its very essence, a religion of the Word of God…That preaching is central and distinctive to Christianity has been recognized throughout the Church’s long and colourful story, even from the beginning.” [1]

2. God’s People Are Built By God’s Word
The Bible is the inerrant and authoritative Word that God has been given us to shape our life and practice, so we intend for it to drive our church. It’s through preaching that we desire to see the Bible dispensed into the life and culture of Redeemer Baptist Church. God has always created and sustained His people through His Word. This is one reason why Paul exhorted Timothy as a leader in Ephesus to, “preach the Word.” (2 Timothy 4:1-2) God created everything in Genesis 1 by speaking, and He sustains everything He created through the Word of His power. (Hebrews 1:3) Jesus quoted Deuteronomy 8:3 that individuals should not live on bread alone but on every Word from the mouth of God. (Matthew 4:4; Luke 4:4) One illustration of God’s powerful Word is seen in Ezekiel’s vision of God bringing the dead to life through the speaking of His Word in the valley of the dry bones. (Ezekiel 37) Scripture is living and active sharper than a double-edged sword (Hebrews 4:12), so it’s by this Word that a we intend to be built and shaped. It’s through the Word alone that anyone may, “walk in the light as He Himself is in the light,” and therefore have, “fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.” (1 John 1:7) Romans 10:14-17 makes the necessity of preaching clear:

How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!’ But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, ‘Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?’ So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.”

At Redeemer Baptist Church we intend to feed God’s sheep through preaching God’s Word (John 21:17), and to see sinners saved through preaching the Word of Christ.

3. What is Preaching?
Biblical preaching is the explanation and application of God’s Word to a people. God’s Word gives life, and preaching is the proclamation of God’s Word. A faithful preacher is God’s mouthpiece of His life-giving Word. Ultimately, the Bible is God’s sermon to men, and preachers function as a conduit of this message. So, one of the goals of preaching is to let the Bible speak on its own terms. [2] We preach so that men and women might forsake the world, trust in God’s provision of salvation through the death and resurrection of Christ alone, be built up for the work of the ministry (Ephesians 4:12), and live a life of acceptable worship to God empowered by the Spirit of God through the Word of God.

4. Expositional Preaching
We believe that expositional preaching is the best way to pursue “right” and “sincere” preaching of the Word of God. 
Expositional preaching is simply, “that preaching which takes for the point of a sermon the point of a particular passage.” [3] Explicating the timeless truth of the text, and exposing it to God’s people. Here’s a longer definition: 

An expository sermon may be defined as a message whose structure and thought are derived from a biblical text, that covers the scope of the text, and that explains the features and context of the text in order to disclose the enduring principles for faithful thinking, living, and worship intended by the Spirit, who inspired the text.” [4]

Topical preaching is helpful from time to time, in order to consider what all of Scripture says about particular topics, but we intend the main diet of preaching at Redeemer Baptist Church to be consecutive expositional preaching. Moving through entire books of the Bible. Further, we intend to preach all of Scripture. Once we work through a book in the New Testament, we plan to move to the Old Testament, alternating between the two Testaments: “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17, my emphasis)

5. Preaching Drives a Church
The pulpit is the motor that drives a local church. If the Word of God is what comes from the pulpit, the Word will be driving the church. If tips of how to live a better life or stories about the preacher is what comes out of the pulpit, then something other than the Word is driving the church – issuing to the spiritual poverty of the people. What comes out of the pulpit is the expression of what the the church believes in its theology, philosophy, and methodology. A church is meant to reflect the resplendent beauty of the Lord Jesus Christ, and we intend to grow in reflecting the beauty of Christ through preaching.

6. Gospel-Centered Preaching
Lastly, we intend to pursue
 gospel–centered expositional preaching at Redeemer Baptist Church. The way the Apostle Paul summarized the focus of His preaching was, “we preach Christ crucified.” (1 Corinthians 1:23) Commenting on this, D. A. Carson writes,“Biblical preaching emphasizes the gospel and constantly elevates Christ crucified. But it also recognizes that the cross is not only our creed, it is the standard of our ministry.” [5] The Old Testament is pointing to the gospel of Jesus Christ. After He was raised from the dead Jesus began with Moses and all the Prophets, and interpreted in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself. (Luke 24:27) Later, He said that everything written about Him in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled. (Luke 24:44) All of God’s promises find their “yes” and “amen” in Christ. (2 Corinthians 1:20) Even in Jesus’ preaching He exhorted people to turn from sin and believe in the gospel. (Mark 1:15) Gospel-centered preaching doesn’t mean we intend to impose the gospel on a text in an alien way, but rather to expose how a particular text points to Christ in it’s natural redemptive-historical context.

7. Preaching as a “Dying Man to Dying Men”
To close, consider this brief description of preaching from
 Richard Baxter. We long to be faithful in this way:

This called me out to work while it was day; and warn poor souls to turn without delay: resolving speedily Thy Word to preach, with Ambrose I at once did learn and teach. Still thinking I had little time to live, my fervent heart to win men’s souls did strive. I preached as never sure to preach again, and as a dying man to dying men. O how should preachers men’s repenting crave who see how near the Church is to the grave? And see that while we preach and hear, we die, rapt by swift time to vast eternity!” [6]


Notes:
[1] Stott, John Between Two Worlds, The Challenge of Preaching Today (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1982), 15-16.
[2] Packer, J. I. Engaging the Written Word of God (Peabody: Hendrickson Publishers, 2012), 268.
[3] Dever, Mark 9Marks of a Healthy Church (Wheaton: Crossway, 2004), 40.
[4] Chapell, Bryan  Christ-Centered Preaching, Redeeming the Expository Sermon, 2nd Edition (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2005), 31.
[5] Carson, D. A.  The Cross and Christian Ministry (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1993), 40.
[6] Baxter, Richard Poetical Fragments: Heart-Employment With God And It Self, the Concordant Discord of a Broken-healed Heart. Sorrowing-rejoicing, Fearing-hoping, Dying-living. Written Partly for Himself, and Partly for Near Friends in Sickness, and Other Deep Affliction (London: J. Dunton at the Black Raven in Poultry, 1689), 30. [I updated some of the archaic spellings]