Monday, February 18, 2013

The Morning After: Preaching, Hearing God's Message (2 Timothy 4:1-5)

It is always an interesting task to preach on preaching. I guess it is one thing to do it at a conference with preachers. But to do it at church is quite a different thing. I find myself standing before people trying to explain what I am actually doing. But I think it is important every now and then to communicate the purpose behind why we do what we do. That's what I did yesterday as I continued my series on the church.

My main thought was that when we come to the act of preaching, as the preacher is faithful to the biblical text, it is as if God is speaking. Now, I understand that many people might not agree with that, but I did my best to show the biblical evidence for this statement. You will have to catch the notes to see how I tried to unpack that thought in the message (NOTES).

The Apostle Paul very directly told Timothy to preach the word (2 Timothy 4:2). To preach means to declare as a proclamation. And the word he was to preach is obviously the inspired word of God that is mentioned just a few verses earlier (3:16-17). There was no mistaking that Paul took this seriously. Timothy was not to waiver from this calling. It was this serious thought that I tried to unpack in my message, but it is not what I want to share in this blog post. At the end of my sermon, I tried to leave everyone with a few practical thoughts for those that sit in the pew each week. What should their attitude be towards the preacher and His sermons.

1. Demand that Your Preachers Preach God's Word.
If it is true that when the preacher preaches God's Word, it is God speaking, then why would you want to settle for anything less. Refuse to settle for some man's opinion about how to be a good friend. Demand that He give you a word from God on the matter.

2. Demand that Your Preachers Preach the Whole Counsel of God.
If it is in the Bible, it should be on the table to be talked about. We should not limit our preachers to preach only what we want to hear (2 Timothy 4:3-4). We must not demand that our preachers only speak about the love of God and not the justice of God. We should invite them to be like the Apostle Paul to the church at Ephesus and preach the whole counsel of God (Acts 20:27).

Third, Demand that Your Preachers Show You Jesus.
Never let the pulpit become about one man more that it becomes about Jesus. Demand that he be like William Carey who had a plaque on his pulpit that said, "Sir, We Would See Jesus." Do not let your church ever become about one man.

Fourth, Demand that You Work as Hard at Listening as You Want Your Preachers to Work at Preaching.
The next time you walk out of church and give your preacher a grade, why don't you grade your listening as well. We spend so much time in our churches talking about how bad the preachers are when a lot of the time, the problem is just as much with the listener. I know it is a shameless plug, but this is what I tried to articulate in my book, Helping Johnny Listen. Check it out.

If you want to listen to the sermon, you can find it HERE (usually posted by Tuesday). If you want to read my notes, you can find it HERE.

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