Gleaning Daily Wisdom from Proverbs

Matt Smethurst: Once upon a time—I think it was the summer of 2004—I was a camp counselor, and one of the boys in my cabin handed me a CD with a single sermon on it. He said his mom loved the preacher, and I should check it out. So on my day off, I listened to the message that would later be expanded into the Freedom of Self-Forgetfulness booklet. The name of the preacher was Tim Keller. The series was Proverbs. A couple years later I sat in a living room in East Asia where, over several months, my ministry team listened to the whole series. Numerous proverbs sprang to life in ways I’d never experienced. I also glimpsed something I didn’t expect to see: the shadow of Jesus Christ. In their new devotional, God’s Wisdom for Navigating Life: A Year of Daily Devotions in the Book of Proverbs, Keller and his wife, Kathy, guide us thematically through the Book of Proverbs over 365

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Biblical theology and expository preaching

Gavin Ortlund: How does a preacher “know nothing but Christ crucified” (1 Cor. 2:2) when preaching through Leviticus or Lamentations? What does it mean to be “gospel-centered” when you’re leading a Bible study on the locusts of Joel, or the false teachers of Jude? We all want to be Christ-centered in our teaching and preaching. But it’s not always obvious how each particular text of Scripture gets us to Christ. One of the most helpful tools for connecting the dots—and simultaneously one of the most neglected—is biblical theology, which (in evangelical circles) refers to the art of reading thematically across the entire Bible as one story. To learn more about biblical theology, and its relevance for expository preaching, I corresponded with Graeme Goldsworthy, former lecturer at Moore Theological College in Sydney, Australia, and author of numerous helpful books on biblical theology, including Preaching the Whole Bible as Christian Scripture: The Application of Biblical Theology to Expository Preaching (Eerdmans, 2000) and Christ-Centered Biblical Theology: Hermeneutical Foundations and

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Top 20 Christ-Centred Expository Preaching Checklist

  David Prince: Preach the text/Preach Christ and His Kingdom (redemptive history, epoch, person & work of Christ, eschatological fulfillment in the Kingdom of Christ) Honor the Authors of the text Apply the text in light of the Gospel of Jesus Christ Preach with authority as an ambassador of Christ Understand preaching as an eschatological act of spiritual war that demands prayer and Spirit-given unction Preach the sermon and not the outline Remember the outline is primarily for you and not the congregation Prepare sermon notes in thought blocks with orality mind Keep your audience in mind as you prepare Concretize illustrations and application bringing theological truth down the ladder of abstraction Use an illustration like a window not like a painting Start strong. Do not slowly ramp up. Finish strong. Do not introduce new ideas in the conclusion Do not narrate your sermon moves and make sure sermon moves are connected and not abstracted from one another (why I prefer to say moves and not

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Is Your Church a Learning Community?

David Wells reflects on the fact that apostolic Christianity was shaped into a set of clear teachings and doctrines: “Christianity, in these and texts like them, is described as the faith, the truth, the pattern of sound words, the traditions, the sound doctrine, and what was delivered in the beginning. This is what the apostles taught, it is what they believed, it is what they “delivered” to the church, it is what is “entrusted” to the church. Christians are those who “believe” this teaching, who “know” it, who “have” it, who “stand” in it, and who are “established” in it. The New Testament letters were written to remind believers about their responsibilities in relation to this teaching, this faith that has been delivered to the church in its final and completed form. The apostles, we read, write to “remind” them of it, urge them to “pay close attention” to it, to “stand firm” in it, to “follow” it, to “hold”

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The Book of 1 Corinthians in 40 Tweets

  By Jonathan Parnell: Crosses were dark in First Century Rome. Crucifixion was a horrific execution method reserved for the lowliest criminals. And yet, Paul writes his letter to the church in Corinth and organizes his theology and entire ministry around this object of shame. In God’s wisdom the cross has become the place, as D. A. Carson explains, where “God has supremely destroyed all human arrogance and pretension.” (The Cross and Christian Ministry, 15). Indeed, this message is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who believe, the cross is the power of God. 1 Corinthians is a book about the cross. And like with Romans, we’ve tried to summarize the book in a series of tweets that we’ll be posting on Twitter throughout the day. As long as we’ve got social media, let’s use it to help one another live in the power of the cross, a day at a time. Here’s one shot: 1 Corinthians 1 The church is

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Jesus’ relation to preaching

According to James Durham, in his Spurgeon-acclaimed work Christ Crucified: The Marrow of the Gospel in 72 Sermons on Isaiah 53, Jesus stands in fourfold relation to preaching. First, all preaching is to explain him. If it does not explain him, it falls short and “that preaching, which stands not in relation to him, is beside the text and mark.” (74) Second, he is the foundation of all preaching and “preaching without him lacks a foundation, and is the building, as it were, of a castle in the air” (74). Third, he is the great end of preaching. Durham states that hearers must “have him known in their judgments” and “have him high in their hearts and affections” (75). Fourth and final, he stands in relation to preaching as its life and power. Without him, says Durham, “no preaching can be effectual, no soul can be captivated and brought to him.” (75) (Durham, James. Christ Crucified: The Marrow of the Gospel in 72

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The Greatest Preachers

“Throughout the history of the church the greatest preachers have been those who have recognized that they have no authority in themselves and have seen their task as being to explain the words of Scripture and apply them clearly to the lives of their hearers. Their preaching has drawn its power not from the proclamation of their own Christian experiences or the experiences of others, nor from their own opinions, creative ideas, or rhetorical skills, but from God’s powerful word. Essentially they stood in the pulpit, pointed to the biblical text, and said in effect to the congregation, “This is what this verse means. Do you see that meaning here as well? Then you must believe it and obey it with all your heart, for God himself, your Creator and your Lord, is saying this to you today!” Only the written words of Scripture can give this kind of authority to preaching.” – Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology (p. 82). (HT: Jared Wilson)

The Pastor’s Role in World Evangelization

. John Piper: What then should a pastor do to promote a passion among his people to see God glorified by the in-gathering of his sheep from the thousands of unreached people groups around the world? My answer: above everything else, be the kind of person and the kind of preacher whose theme and passion is the majesty of God. . . . The most important thing I think pastors can do to arouse and sustain a passion for world evangelization is week in and week out to help their people see the crags and peaks and icy cliffs and snowcapped heights of God’s majestic character. And let me sharpen the point in two ways: 1. We should labor in our preaching to clear the mists and fog away from the sharp contours of the character of God. We should let him be seen in his majesty and sovereignty. I know of one denominational official who, when asked how to preach

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The Ultimate Aim of All Christian Preaching

John Piper offers ten theses to explain how all preaching should be gospel preaching, proclaiming Christ crucified: Whatever lasting good God ever does or ever did or ever will do for any individual person, he does and did and will do because of his free, utterly undeserved grace. This free grace, that gives every lasting good to people, can benefit us justly only because of Jesus’ wrath-absorbing, righteousness-providing, sin-atoning, guilt-removing, substitutionary death for us. Without this kind of atoning death of Christ, God’s grace would not save us, but only increase our condemnation because of the hardness of our hearts. But by the blood of Christ, God really purchased us for himself and secured not only every lasting good that we receive, but also the gift of repentance and faith through which we receive everything else. Therefore every sermon that holds out any lasting good to any person (as every Christian sermon must) should be based on, and interwoven with,

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Practical Tips for Expository Preachers

There are a variety of methods for sermon preparation and delivery. There is no one way to do it. Everyone is unique and different. Alistair Begg shares five tips that he learned from an older minister when he was a theological student: Think yourself empty. Survey a passage of Scripture in the proper spirit of unlearnedness. Avoid the proud assumption that you initially know what everything means. Read yourself full. Read widely and regularly. Write yourself clear. Aside from the essential empowering of the Spirit, freedom of delivery in the pulpit depends on careful organization in the study. Pray yourself hot. Without personal prayer and communion with God during the preparation stages, the pulpit will be cold. Be yourself, but don’t preach yourself. There is nothing quite so ridiculous as the affected tone and adopted posture of the preacher who wishes he were someone else. Also – a good teacher clears the way, declares the way, and then gets out of

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Can we see Jesus better than the saints in the bible?

John Piper: Jesus speaks of three ways of seeing himself, each better than the one before. There were the people who saw him, the incarnate Son of God, and did not see the self-authenticating reality of his divine glory. They only saw a teacher or a prophet. “Seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand” (Matthew 13:13). Then there were the prophets and righteous people in the Old Testament who did not see the incarnate form of the Son of God, but did see his divine glory. “Truly, I say to you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it” (Matthew 13:17). That is, they did not see the physical form of God’s glory in the incarnate Son. But they did see his glory. Some saw it only with the eyes of their hearts

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DA Carson’s – The God Who is There

. In February 2009, Don Carson presented a 14-part seminar entitled “The God Who Is There” at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis. This series will serve the church well because it simultaneously evangelizes non-Christians and edifies Christians by explaining the Bible’s storyline in a non-reductionistic way. The series is geared toward “seekers” and articulates Christianity in a way that causes hearers either to reject or embrace the gospel. It’s one thing to know the Bible’s storyline, but it’s another to know one’s role in God’s ongoing story of redemption. “The God Who Is There” engages people at the worldview-level. Full audio and video are now available for free for the entire 14 part series: . 1. The God Who Made Everything View Media 2. The God Who Does Not Wipe Out Rebels View Media 3. The God Who Writes His Own Agreements View Media 4. The God Who Legislates View Media 5. The God Who Reigns View Media 6. The God Who Is Unfathomably Wise View

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Tim Keller: Preaching to the Heart

On October 19, 2008, Tim Keller presented two lectures at Oak Hill College on “Preaching to the Heart”: Part 1 Part 2 Here’s how Oak Hill College describes them: Jonathan Edwards believed that the ultimate purpose of preaching is not only to make the truth clear, but also to make it real—affecting and life-changing. This is usually covered under the topic of “application”, though framing the subject in that way often results in a “tack-on” of practical advice after a dry, academic exposition. How can we preach the text from first to last in a way that exalts Christ, changes heart motivations, produces wisdom and wonder, persuades the sceptical and results in real life change? In his two lectures, Tim Keller explores these challenges to the preacher. (HT: Andy Naselli)