A Woman is Preaching?

Do you know the Bible story of Huldah?

Many people have attended Sunday school and church for their entire lives, yet they have never even heard of her. Even those who went to a Christian grade school or college might be thinking, “Umm, in the Bible? Are you sure? Wasn’t that Hagar the Horrible’s wife’s name?” (Nope, that’s Helga). Many of you have spent thirty, forty, or eighty years in the church and still, you’ve never heard of Huldah. I have asked Christians who have all of the above credentials (and more) and generally, they have never heard her name or story.

She almost never shows up in children’s Bible story books. She does not appear in the majority of Sunday school curriculum. Huldah’s story is absent. I have attended church my whole life, all thirty-six years. I have listened to pastors preaching online, on the radio, in different churches, in different denominations, in this country, and overseas. And I have never once heard a pastor tell the story of Huldah or teach on the significance of her life.

And why not? She was arguably the most respected and influential prophet during the reign of King Josiah. Most of us know the story of King Josiah, a godly leader who was crowned as a young boy. So then, why have we not heard about Huldah, an important female prophet from the same period?

It is hard to say that her story is obscure, except that we have made it so by ignoring it. God used Huldah’s prophecy in a powerful way. Her work was followed by the most thorough religious renewal in the entire history of Judah. There were a few Southern kingdom monarchs who had turned away from idolatry in Judah’s history. But it was only under King Josiah in response to Huldah’s prophecy that every visible trace of idol worship was wiped out. Stone idols were even smashed and ground to powder so that no one could salvage a crumb and worship it. Of course, as soon as Josiah died, idolatry popped right up again. But under Josiah’s and Huldah’s leadership, it was completely forbidden.

So why is it that we have overlooked the story of Huldah—a story recorded twice in Scripture (2 Kings 22 and 2 Chronicles 34)? Why do most people not know her name? Why is she not remembered with other Bible women such as Sarah, Miriam, Deborah, and Esther?

Quite simply, Huldah’s story does not fit with the prevailing theology on women in ministry that is held by most evangelicals in America. There is really nothing to her story except that she preaches the word of God, quite authoritatively, to a group of men who happened to be the highest civic and religious leaders in the country. Even the high priest was there.

Imagining Huldah: this linoleum block and watercolor print was inspired by women depicted in ancient art from Egypt and the Aegean Sea people.

We cannot pull the focus of her story toward co-operative military leadership as we can with Deborah. We cannot put a magnifying glass over her childhood story, her musical talents, or her mistakes as we often do with Miriam. We cannot make her into a beauty contest winner as we can with Esther. Huldah really does only one thing. She preaches a sermon. And it was not sharing time at women’s ministry night. Her audience was men. In the Bible, that is really all that Huldah did. She held a respected position of spiritual leadership, and she clearly taught the word of God to men.

But you thought “ladies” weren’t supposed to do that! Huldah’s story raises difficult questions about why women today are not allowed to be spiritual leaders and religious teachers in the church.

In Jerusalem at the time of Huldah’s ministry, there were some very dark practices going on. There were prostitutes whose services were available right inside the temple of Yahweh. People thought that in order to keep the gods happy, the crops healthy, and the invading armies away, they needed to throw their children into the open jaws of the evil god, Molech. Their children were burned alive as human sacrifices. But all of that ended after King Josiah encountered the word of God. God spoke to the king in two ways, through the Book of the Law found in the temple (probably Deuteronomy) and through the preaching of a woman.

So, here’s my question today:

Would you like to see the church purified from its modern day idols? Would you like to see our “Molech” ground to dust?

Then let the women preach! Do not put up roadblocks of doubt and shame about what a woman can do for God’s people. Tell your daughters about Huldah. Encourage women who want to learn and teach God’s word. Invite them to share what God has taught them to women and men. In the humble footsteps of Josiah, seek out the wisdom of godly women in your church. Be prepared for God to speak in an unexpected way with an unexpected voice.

And remember:

“In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days and they will prophesy.” (Acts 2:17-18)

[ this article is by Sara Ronnevik, October 14, 2015 ]

[ Read more about Huldah ]

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What’s New?

What’s New, According to the Bible?

We like new stuff… new cars, new homes, new gadgets like computers, cell phones and iPads, new shoes, new large screen HD TVs, make new friends, need new ideas, have a new attitude, new wave, newfangled, new day, new dawn, the New Deal, turning over a new leaf, the new kid on the block, new baby in the family, ring out the old and bring in the new, Happy New Year, brand spanking new, something old something new something borrowed something blue, a brave new world, new and improved, looking for that new workout, that new diet, a new recipe, a new direction, and we even have the emperor’s new clothes.

It was Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived, who said that there is nothing new under the sun (Ecclesiastes 1:9)

2 “Everything is meaningless,” says the Teacher, “completely meaningless!”

3 What do people get for all their hard work under the sun? 4 Generations come and generations go, but the earth never changes. 5 The sun rises and the sun sets, then hurries around to rise again. 6 The wind blows south, and then turns north. Around and around it goes, blowing in circles. 7 Rivers run into the sea, but the sea is never full. Then the water returns again to the rivers and flows out again to the sea. 8 Everything is wearisome beyond description. No matter how much we see, we are never satisfied. No matter how much we hear, we are not content.

9 History merely repeats itself. It has all been done before. Nothing under the sun is truly new. 10 Sometimes people say, “Here is something new!” But actually it is old; nothing is ever truly new. 11 We don’t remember what happened in the past, and in future generations, no one will remember what we are doing now.

He refers to his observation of the effects of repetitious, persistent activity in God’s creation over many generations compared to the brief, comparatively profitless activity of one person which fails to produce lasting satisfaction, so he concludes that all of life is wearisome. He sees life as offering nothing new, and over time nothing will be remembered… so life is futile, it is like chasing after the wind.

But when you read through the Bible, you find A LOT of information on the topic of newness…

New Jerusalem – Revelation 21:2

New Heaven and Earth

  • Isaiah 65:17 (Look! I am creating new heavens and a new earth, and no one will even think about the old ones anymore)
  • Isaiah 66:22 (As surely as my new heavens and earth will remain, so will you always be my people, with a name that will never disappear)
  • 2 Peter 3:13 (But we are looking forward to the new heavens and new earth he has promised, a world filled with God’s righteousness.)
  • Revelation 21:1 (Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the old heaven and the old earth had disappeared.)

New Creation

  • 2 Corinthians 5:17 (if any person is in Christ, they are a new creation…)
  • Galatians 6:15 (It is not about religious ritual. What counts is whether we have been transformed into a new creation)

New Song – Ps 33:3, 40:3, 96:1, 98:1, 144:9, 149:1, Isaiah 42:10, Revelation 5:9, 14:3

New Branch – Isaiah 11:1 (Out of the stump of David’s family will grow a shoot— yes, a new Branch bearing fruit from the old root.)

New Strength – Isaiah 40:31 (But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.)

New Path – Isaiah 64:16 (I will lead blind Israel down a new path, guiding them along an unfamiliar way. I will brighten the darkness before them and smooth out the road ahead of them. Yes, I will indeed do these things; I will not forsake them.)

New Name

  • Isaiah 62:2 (The nations will see your righteousness. World leaders will be blinded by your glory. And you will be given a new name by the Lord’s own mouth.)
  • Isaiah 62:4 (Never again will you be called “The Forsaken City” or “The Desolate Land.” Your new name will be “The City of God’s Delight” and “The Bride of God,” for the Lord delights in you and will claim you as his bride.)
  • Revelation 2:17 (To everyone who is victorious I will give some of the manna that has been hidden away in heaven. And I will give to each one a white stone, and on the stone will be engraved a new name that no one understands except the one who receives it.)

New Heart and New Spirit

  • Ezekiel 18:31 (Put all your rebellion behind you, and find yourselves a new heart and a new spirit.)
  • Ezekiel 36:26 (And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart.)

New Patch and New Wine – Matthew 9:16-17 (no one puts new wine into old wineskins)

New World – Matthew 19:28 (Jesus replied, “I assure you that when the world is made new and the Son of Mansits upon his glorious throne, you who have been my followers will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.)

New Tomb – Matthew 27:60 (Jesus was placed in a new tomb)

New Covenant – Luke 22:20, 1 Corinthians 11:25, 2 Corinthians 3:6, Hebrews 8:13, 12:24 (there’s way to much theology to even comment right now, but the rest of the message will unpack this new covenant)

New Commandment – John 13:34 (love one another)

New Life – Romans 5:18, 1 Corinthians 15:22, 2 Corinthians 5:15, Galatians 3:21, Colossians 3:1, 11, Titus 3:5, 1 Peter 1:23, 3:7 (this is the essence of the entire New Testament)

New Person – Romans 12:2, 2 Corinthians 5:17, Galatians 6:15-16

New Bodies – 1 Corinthians 15:38, 2 Corinthians 5:4

New Way – 2 Corinthians 3:7-12 (the glory of the new covenant)

New Nature – Colossians 3:10 (Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him.)

New Birth – Titus 3:5 (he saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit.)

New Everything – Revelation 21:5 (And the one sitting on the throne said, “Look, I am making everything new!” And then he said to me, “Write this down, for what I tell you is trustworthy and true.”)

Wow, so much newness. So on this last Sunday of 2013, and as we launch into a new year, let’s take another look at the passage from Jeremiah 31:31-34…

31 “The day is coming,” says the Lord, “when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and Judah. 32 This covenant will not be like the one I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand and brought them out of the land of Egypt. They broke that covenant, though I loved them as a husband loves his wife,” says the Lord.

33 “But this is the new covenant I will make with the people of Israel on that day,” says the Lord. “I will put my instructions deep within them, and I will write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. 34 And they will not need to teach their neighbors, nor will they need to teach their relatives, saying, ‘You should know the Lord.’ For everyone, from the least to the greatest, will know me already,” says the Lord. “And I will forgive their wickedness, and I will never again remember their sins.”

This passage is actually the longest Old Testament passage quoted in the New Testament, and it is applied to the church (2 Corinthians 3:5-18, Hebrews 8:8-12, 10:16-17).

The word “new” is described as “different from one of the same which existed before; made fresh.” There is a larger concept of newness where Scripture expresses God’s concern for people and the creation in four broad categories.

1. God’s New Act: Scripture often calls for us to remember his past activities, such as creation and the exodus, which reveal God’s care for God’s world and God’s people. Although faith is rooted in God’s acts in history, biblical faith does not leave God in the distant past. Time and again writers of Scripture called for God’s people to anticipate God’s new intervention in their lives.

In Isaiah 43:14-21 God promised Babylonian exiles that he was now “doing a new thing” which paralleled God’s acts of saving Israel from Egyptian slavery. It would be THAT big.

By the time we get to the New Testament, God again acted in a new way in Jesus Christ, who offered a new teaching with amazing authority (Mark 1:27). His ministry would be compared to new wine bursting old expectations of God’s involvement in human salvation (Mark 2:22).

There would not only be God acting in a new way, there would be the building of new relationships.

2. New Relationships: The Bible records how God acted in the past to establish relationships, primarily with the descendants of Abraham and the people of Israel at Sinai. Jeremiah anticipated God’s establishing a new covenant with God’s habitually faithless people. This new covenant would make knowledge of the law a matter of the heart, something internal rather than external (Jeremiah 31:31-34; Hebrews 8:8-13).

Take a look at Luke 22:20, After supper he took another cup of wine and said, “This cup is the new covenant between God and his people—an agreement confirmed with my blood, which is poured out as a sacrifice for you.

Luke points to the sacrificial death of Christ on the cross as the basis for this new covenant. In Jesus Christ the believer experiences newness of life (Romans 6:4; 2 Corinthians 5:17) and this renewed life is characterized by new relationships with God and with other people (Ephesians 2:15-16; Colossians 3:10-11). So, we have God’s new acts, bringing new relationships, which leads to new birth.

3. New Birth: Out of the concept of new relationships comes the term, new birth, which refers to God’s gift of spiritual life to undeserving sinners. It is synonymous with regeneration and finds its origin in John 3:1-10, where Jesus told Nicodemus, “Unless someone is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3). Jesus indicated that the idea of the new birth is rooted in the OT when he scolded Nicodemus for not remembering his seminary Old Testament classes: “Are you a teacher of Israel and don’t know these things?” (John 3:10; cp. Ezekiel 36:26-27).

The new birth is caused by the gracious and sovereign act of God apart from human cooperation or effort (John 1:13; Ephesians 2:4-5). We cannot earn our salvation. God brings this new birth through the preaching of the word of God (1 Peter 1:23; James 1:18).

So, today, you must ask yourself these questions, “Have I experienced this new birth? Am I in a new relationship with God through Jesus Christ?” If you are not sure, or know that you have never taken that step of faith, today is the day that you can nail down your destiny.

The result of the new birth is a changed life; a new life (2 Corinthians 5:17) which includes saving faith, repentance (Ephesians 2:8; Acts 11:18; 16:14) and obedience to God’s law (1 John 3:9). With God’s new acts, and new relationships, and new birth, this all leads us to this new covenant.

4. New Covenant: This New Covenant is all about the unity of five divine covenants we find in the Old Testament: Despite their differences, these covenants reveal a structural and thematic unity of grace that is found throughout all the Scripture. It is NOT simply a matter of Law versus Grace, so let’s take a quick look at these previous covenants.

The Noahic covenant preserves the human race from destruction so that the Messiah might be born. It demonstrates the grace of God in that he promises to patiently put up with the human race until the coming of Christ (cp. Acts 17:30).

The Abrahamic covenant follows the covenant of grace as well, creating a historical lineage or family through which the promised Messiah would come.

The Mosaic covenant, too, is part of the covenant of grace and is an extension of the Abrahamic covenant. The Scriptures specifically says that the Mosaic covenant is established because God “remembered His covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob” (Exodus 2:24). By delivering Israel from Egypt and forming them into a nation by giving them the Law, God established an arrangement in which all of mankind might see that they cannot live up to the covenant of works, and then they will realize their need for a Savior.

Within the context of the nation of Israel, God founded the Davidic covenant that provided the divine monarchy through which God would govern his redeemed people for all eternity. God also kept this covenant unconditionally, preserving the rebellious Hebrew nation and bringing them back from exile “for My own sake and for My servant David’s sake” (2 Kings 20:4-6 NASB).

This New Covenant brings the covenant of grace to fulfillment with the life, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ who is the promised Messiah of the covenant of grace. So, in the progressive revelation of these covenants, we can see one unified, unfolding story of God’s plan.

Let’s get back to the New Covenant in Jeremiah 31, which lists four provisions, or “I Will” statements, which indicate what God is going to do:

  1. I will make a new covenant; here God is taking the initiative in making this covenant, this is renewal (v.31)
  2. I will put my instructions deep within them, writing it on their hearts; this is regeneration. (v.33)
  3. I will be their God and they will be my people; this is restoration of relationship. (v.33)
  4. I will forgive their sins and remember them no more; this is removal, complete justification, wiping the board totally clean. (v.34)

This is a profound Word of Hope is for a hopeless people who are alienated from God by their own sin. They have a broken relationship and they are a disobedient people, yet God has not abandoned them. Like the parent of a prodigal child, God longs to gather his people back into his arms again. We know that Jeremiah’s mention of this New Covenant is fulfilled completely in Jesus Christ.

The New Covenant is established by the blood that Jesus shed on the cross. That blood, which guarantees to Israel the New Covenant, also provides for the forgiveness of sins for the believers who are the church. Jesus’ payment for sins is more than adequate to pay for the sins of the whole world.

So, as we make New Year’s resolutions, all these promises that we intend to keep yet faithfully forsake by the end of January, remember this: any plan for the betterment of humanity or society that ignores the sin problem is destined for failure.

It is not enough to change your environment; we need to change our heart problem. God wants to change the hearts of his people so they will WANT to love him and follow him. God initiates a new covenant to replace the old one. Ever since the time of Moses, this old covenant would direct their conduct but did precious little to change their character.

Have you ever wondered why you fail in the Christian life so often? You have been working on your conduct, to adhere to some external list of rules and regulations, do’s and don’ts. What you need is a new heart whereby God will begin to change your character.

Hear the words of the prophet Ezekiel, I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart. (Ezekiel 36:26)

Where are you in this new covenant? Have you recognized your alienation from God? Do you understand that Jesus Christ is the only solution to the sin problem and gaining access to the Father? (John 14:6).

God’s new covenant is offered to all those who receive Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. As the writer of Ecclesiastes tells us, that there is nothing new under the sun, today we see that there is plenty of newness in the Bible and in a relationship with God.

What is holding you back from being ALL IN? You have tried to change your behavior, failing year after year. Now it is time for a new heart, a heart transplant. God’s Word can be written to your heart where he can effectively change your character that will eventually change your conduct.

Perhaps without knowing it, maybe this is what you have been seeking all these years, to see God acting in human history, to experience a new relationship with God and with other people, to understand and accept this new birth (receiving forgiveness and power to live a life pleasing to God), and to embrace the new covenant of which Jesus speaks during the last supper, this new covenant in his blood.

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He Died in the Service

You’ve heard the joke… a boy sees a plaque in the foyer of the church honoring “those who died in the service.” While shaking the hand of the pastor at the end of the worship service, the little boy asks, “were they in the 8:30 or the 11:00 service?” I don’t know too many stories about people dying in church, but the Bible records one such story when Paul turns into a long-winded preacher in a place called Troas (Acts 20:7-9).

Paul left Ephesus and traveled through Macedonia and into Greece, where he stayed three months (Acts 20:1, 2, 3). Under more persecution, the small group (Acts 20:4) caught up with Luke at Troas (Acts 20:5, 6).

Luke was a man short on elaboration when it came to details, but as Paul preached on and on past midnight, a boy name Eutychus fell asleep sitting on a third floor window sill, fell out and “was picked up dead” (Acts 20:9). It appears that Paul’s enthusiasm exceeded the stamina of his audience.

As one with a spiritual gift of teaching, I understand the dilemma, wanting to pass on everything that I learn to others. I often wonder about my writing too much on this blog, but then justify the length at times for a few reasons:

  1. People will read only what they choose to read.
  2. If people want to know more they have it available right now.
  3. If people choose not to read it, I still have it on my blog as an electronic filing cabinet for my future reference!

I can imagine some of you reading this getting a kick out of Acts 20:9 where Luke mentions, “Paul kept talking on and on.” Perhaps you are thinking the same about me, going on and on, but I hope what I share with you is worth your time!

Back to the story. Had this boy not fallen asleep and out the window, Paul would not have had the opportunity to raise the dead. The message went on and on, the room was so crowded they had to sit people in the window to hear. The lamps and bodies made the room warm. Most of the listeners had risen at dawn that morning, so it was a very long day. I imagine the boy (and others) had to prop their eyelids open.

Perhaps a dream caused the boy to twitch and he fell out the window. It would not be such a funny story if it were not for the happy ending, Paul runs down and declares the boy is alive (Acts 20:10). Another humorous part for me is that after he raises the boy, Paul goes back upstairs and continues talking until morning (Acts 20:11).

The moral of this story, don’t sit too close to a window as you read my lessons… did I make this one a little shorter?

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Passion-Driven Sermon, Part 5

The Passion-Driven Sermon: The Passion-Driven Sermon: Practical Theology for Pastoral Preaching (Jim Shaddix).

  1. Preaching from a Biblical Perspective
  2. The Message of Preaching
  3. The Shepherd’s Stewardship in Preaching
  4. The Shepherd’s Power in Preaching
  5. The Shepherd’s Relevance in Preaching

The Shepherd’s Relevance: Application of Incarnation?

Haddon Robinson is quoted as saying, “More heresy is preached in application than in Bible exegesis.”

1. Reforming Application from the Outside In: we must look at the basic nature of God and the passage before we jump in to personal application.

Reclaiming the Relevance: application is not primarily about addressing perceived needs with practical advice but addressing real needs and restoring right relationships.

Redefining the Meaning: as we visit a doctor, we are prescribed medication, which we must apply in order to get better.

  1. Specific Application – involves linking truth with a current situation in the listener’s life.
  2. Stored Application – involves truth that is being deposited and kept for life situations that the listener has not yet fathomed.
  3. Subliminal Application – involves application made below the conscious level. Much of the Spirit is not understood but is truth that is stored below our consciousness.

Redeeming the Focus: what approach to application provides the preacher with the best chance of connecting eternal truth with the most number of listeners? The funnel of relevance narrows at each point.

  1. Theological Application is first – what does the text teach us about God and His relationship with people?
  2. Universal Application – timeless truth in any given passage that is applicable to all people of all time.
  3. Generational Application – which is for all people living on the planet at the time the message is preached.
  4. Cultural Application – which is germane to all people within a particular culture.
  5. Communal Application – involves the connection of truth with those persons whose lives are bound by some type of relationship.
  6. Individual Application – when the preacher seeks to identify and address the needs of individual listeners or selected groups.

2. Transforming Lives from the Inside Out: Christ is to be formed in the believers (Philippians 3:10, 21; Colossians 1:27)

Preaching for Christ’s Character: the target of incarnational preaching is the character of Christ within the believers. The concentric circles are:

  1. Christ in You.
  2. Conscience (mind, will and emotions).
  3. Conduct.
  4. Community.

Preaching for Christ’s Conscience: you are what you eat. A man is what he thinks (Proverbs 23:7). Conscience is general and broad and may influence many different situations. It is more effective than to just change a person’s conduct. Let this mind be in you (Philippians 2:5).

Preaching for Christ’s Conduct: the purpose of preaching ought to see faith expressed in the conduct as a result of character formation and conscience alteration.

Preaching for Christ’s Community: loss of community is one of the most overlooked realities of contemporary church growth. Fundamental questions for the faith community has always been, “Who are we and what do we do?” Many churches are trying to convince a listening audience that we are all on the same page (same language, same problems, on the same journey). Some avoid the language of the church to use the language of the culture. The terms will lose their meanings; terms that help define the community of faith. People are growing in biblical illiteracy.

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Passion-Driven Sermon, Part 4

The Passion-Driven Sermon: The Passion-Driven Sermon: Practical Theology for Pastoral Preaching (Jim Shaddix).

  1. Preaching from a Biblical Perspective
  2. The Message of Preaching
  3. The Shepherd’s Stewardship in Preaching
  4. The Shepherd’s Power in Preaching
  5. The Shepherd’s Relevance in Preaching

The Shepherd’s Power: Subjective or Objective?

One ingredient separates the preacher from other passionate speakers, it is the anointing of God, whereby the preacher is binding himself to the Holy Spirit and His power.

The Work of the Shepherd: he is interdependent upon himself and the power of God.

  1. The Influence of Persuasion – Paul often used this method (1 Corinthians 2:4, Acts 13:43; 17:4-5; 18:4;19:26; 28:24; 2 Corinthians 5:11).
  2. The Interdependence of Preaching – Bible writers spoke with the authority of God (2 Peter 1:19-21). Secular speakers depend on their skills of argument and persuasion, but the preacher must rely on the power of the Holy Spirit. The Christian preacher must also assume that God will speak to his listeners through his preaching.

The Work of the Scriptures: God-breathed Scriptures are the only source of faith and practice; that will bring lasting life change.

  1. Completing the Pastor: Preaching for life change comes out of the role of Scripture (2 Timothy 3:14-17). It is a work of inspiration of God, that is for all people. It also equips the shepherd in that it completes him; he has everything he needs to fulfill his calling.
    1. The Bible provides wisdom for all godliness (2 Timothy 2:17) – pointing to justification and sanctification; growing in Christ-likeness.
    2. The Bible provides instruction for knowing godliness (2 Timothy 3:16) – profitable for doctrine, a complete body of divine truth.
    3. The Bible provides rebuke for straying from godliness (2 Timothy 3:16) – reproof means to convict of error in behavior or belief.
    4. The Bible provides restoration to godliness (2 Timothy 3:16) – correction is found only here in the NT, referring to restoring something to its original and proper condition.
    5. The Bible provides training for pursuing godliness (2 Timothy 3:16) – instruction is better rendered training or discipline. The idea is to build up.
  2. Changing the People: Joshua was challenging the people to remain in God’s Word if they wanted to experience success or prosperity (Joshua 1:8). The idea is not foreign to the Bible (Psalm 19:7-13); Providing spiritual cleansing (Psalm 119:9-11); inspiring wonder (Psalm 119:18); navigating life’s journey (Psalm 119:105); spiritual nourishment (1 Peter 1:22-2:2).

The Work of the Spirit: transformation is the goal of Christianity.

  1. The Spirit and the Work of God – like the Incredible Hulk, we are transformed through the process of metamorphosis into the likeness of Christ (Romans 12:1; Matthew 17:2; 2 Corinthians 5:17; 2 Corinthians 4:16; Philippians 2:5). We will be like Him spiritually, bodily (Philippians 3:21; 1 Corinthians 15:49).
  2. The Spirit and the Word of God – Jesus’ prayer was that His followers be sanctified in the truth (John 17:17), and our ultimate transformation will be glorification. It is through the Word of God that we may be transformed (Romans 12:1-2).

Related Images:

Passion-Driven Sermon, Part 3

The Passion-Driven Sermon: The Passion-Driven Sermon: Practical Theology for Pastoral Preaching (Jim Shaddix).

  1. Preaching from a Biblical Perspective
  2. The Message of Preaching
  3. The Shepherd’s Stewardship in Preaching
  4. The Shepherd’s Power in Preaching
  5. The Shepherd’s Relevance in Preaching

The Shepherd’s Stewardship: Good Stuff or God Stuff?

Many conservatives have championed biblical inerrancy, however they are often functional errantists (by the way they handle the Bible in their preaching, like it was entrusted to us for any and every use under the sun).

Exalting God, Not Resourcing Man: it is the testimony of God

  1. The Essence of the Bible – People are weary of sermons listing only historical facts and no connection to real life. The Bible has a most important quality, its divine feature, that it is God-centered and not man-centered. The shepherd is to speak God-stuff (thus says the Lord) and not just good stuff.
  2. The Agenda of the Bible – The beginning and the end of the Bible are similar, a creation with a garden and the Tree of Life. On the journey between the two we are called to conform to the image of His Son. The shepherd and sheep must align themselves with God’s agenda.

Explaining Revelation, Not Revealing Information: new vs. existing revelation; God told me…

  1. A Revelation About Revelation – The author received a comment about not getting his messages from God, since he preached through books of the Bible. He was preaching the next passage that followed rather than listening to God and preaching what God wanted. Preachers cannot say, “thus says the Lord” if they are getting information from non-biblical sources. Are they heralding heresy or transmitting truth? God has revealed through His Word, new revelation from God would mean that Joseph Smith or Charles Taze Russell might be right.
  2. An Explanation About Explanation – Preaching has evolved from being revelatory to being explanatory. Post-apostolic preachers began explaining that which God has already revealed and persuaded men to act upon it. The Bible is our only source of knowledge of God’s truth (2 Timothy 3:16-17, 1 Peter 2:2). Today, people are more interested in personal experience, emotional feeling and pragmatic application than explanation of the biblical text.
  3. An Understanding About Understanding – Explanation is not an end unto itself but a means to an end, which is understanding.

In Nehemiah 8, those who could understand gathered at the revival event. First, they read directly from the book (Nehemiah 8:8). Second, Nehemiah gave it sense, likely it was translated from Hebrew into Aramaic (Nehemiah 8:8). Translation is not as effective as interpretation.

The Emmaus Road experience we see something similar, they did not have proper understanding (Luke 24:25, 27, 32). Paul challenges us to renew our minds (Romans 12:2).

The preacher is not to give opinions, indirect implications or extra-biblical principles, but instead to reveal the Spirit’s intended meaning in Scripture; to help their lives to transform.

Edifying Churches, Not Reaching Seekers: Although we are to be all about evangelism, being seeker-sensitive is not the same.

  1. The Savior on Church Growth – Jesus mentioned building His church on the Rock (Matthew 16), and that all that the Father gives Him will come to Him (John 6:37). Human efforts produce human results. The early church had the Spirit growing the church (Acts 2:39, 2:47, 5:14, 11:24, 13:48). Church growth is His doing, not any strategy, method, principle or program.
  2. The Shepherd in Church Growth – We are to be equippers of the saint, for the work of service (Ephesians 4:11-16). The shepherd is to build up the body, teaching gifted men who can teach others also (2 Timothy 2:2).
  3. The Stewardship of Church Growth – Seeker-sensitive services boast about making it casual for lost people, but where is the highest percentage of lost people, inside or outside the church? Most lost people never darken our doors. So, it is better use of energy and resources to build up the body to impact their believers’ circles of influence. The Great Commission uses a term, “as you are going…” like along the way, make disciples.

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Passion-Driven Sermon, Part 2

The Passion-Driven Sermon: The Passion-Driven Sermon: Practical Theology for Pastoral Preaching (Jim Shaddix).

  1. Preaching from a Biblical Perspective
  2. The Message of Preaching
  3. The Shepherd’s Stewardship in Preaching
  4. The Shepherd’s Power in Preaching
  5. The Shepherd’s Relevance in Preaching

The Message of Preaching:
God’s Word vs. Man’s Wisdom (1 Corinthians 2:1-2)

The Preacher as Reporter: just the facts, ma’am.

  1. The Subject of the Report – We are to report the testimony of Scripture, or the mystery of Christ. This comes out of a study of God’s Word.
  2. The Significance of the Report – Isaiah and other writers often used the word “report” (Isaiah 53:1, Matthew 9:26, Romans 10:16, Luke 7:17). The report was about what God was doing, the good news about the crucified Christ.
  3. The Source of the Report – The author makes a point regarding a preacher delivering a message about God vs. a preacher delivering a message from God. Communicating God’s revelation is both about God and from God.

The Preacher as Reminder: like using the PDA feature.

  1. Task of Reminding – Scripture writers often did this as well (Romans 15:15, Jude 5, Philippians 3:1, 2 Peter 1:12-15, 2 Peter 3:1-2).
  2. Topic of Reminding – Paul’s message was Jesus Christ and Him crucified (2 Corinthians 1-2, Acts 2:37, Philippians 2:9-11)
  3. Tension of Reminding – The message was often a stumbling block. Reminding suggests repetition, and preachers often fear being repetitive; needing something new each time in the pulpit.

Preacher as Reflector: like stops signs and road markers.

  1. Reflection of the Cross – The preacher does not need to come up with the light, rather he reflects the light. The reflection does not come from the audience or culture. The cross is foolishness to those who are perishing. What about “felt needs” preaching? This often addresses the listener’s questions but never introduces them to a holy God in Christ.
  2. Reflection on the Church – Every sermon need not be a salvation message. Paul always preached Christ, but his messages were not always evangelistic. Much of the NT is written to churches, and Paul did a lot of instruction in theology, too.
  3. Reflection of a Conviction – At Mars Hill, Paul did not change his style: First, he did not finish his sermon because he was cut off at the mention of the resurrection. Second, Paul began the sermon with a biblical presentation of creation and ended it with the resurrection. Third, some people believed that day and joined him. The preacher must make a willful decision to stick with the Book and its authority.

Related Images:

Passion-Driven Sermon, Part 1

The Passion-Driven Sermon: The Passion-Driven Sermon: Practical Theology for Pastoral Preaching (Jim Shaddix).

  1. Preaching from a Biblical Perspective
  2. The Message of Preaching
  3. The Shepherd’s Stewardship in Preaching
  4. The Shepherd’s Power in Preaching
  5. The Shepherd’s Relevance in Preaching

Kim and I went to Music and Worship Week at Ridgecrest in 2006 and Dr. Jim Shaddix was the preacher for the event. I purchased his book and even bought the CDs of his main messages. Below are some notes regarding his book.

The forward by John MacArthur makes a comment about the decline of biblical preaching and a rise of great pulpiteers in modern society; a trend toward entertainment, oratory, people-centered messages. Popular books on preaching tend to emphasize meeting people’s felt needs, being relevant, being practical, being user-friendly, and being contemporary. He says modern preaching is self-consciously shaped to fit a pragmatic agenda of purpose-driven, rather than being compelled and tempered by a passion for faithful and courageously delivering the whole counsel of God. Shaddix gives us a biblical perspective on preaching; encouraging the preacher with a passion for God’s truth and advancement of God’s glory.

These posts are notes from the four sections I found most interesting (chapters one, four, five and six).

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