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May 30, 2022 4:00 am
When people evaluate churches they might evaluate them on the basis of many things, but there's only one that really sets the tone single most important reason for nature and character of its preaching. Should that affect the way churches reach their audiences was the pastor's most important role in the current culture. John MacArthur answers those questions today as he begins a study titled why is preaching worth fighting for. Now John, before you launch this series, let me mention that were going to follow it up with your message called why I love the church. Those two sermons go together so beautifully. It's is a clear connection between loving the church and preaching, but that connection is often lost these days with some troubling results yeah preaching and by preaching I mean preaching the word preaching the word rightly divided handling the word of God accurately, which comes down to be an expository preacher expository preaching.
We talk about that people might not understand that word expository simply means to explain something doesn't mean you expose something that's a different verb it means to explain the word of God so that the preaching that God honors is the preaching that explains the word of God. What is the meaning of the word of God. So you as a preacher, you're saying all right here is the word of God.
This is what it says in the next thing is this is what it means and the next thing is this is what it implies in your life and the next thing this is how it applies to your life so expository preaching is simply preaching the Bible so that people understand it and look that is that's our passion, unleashing God's truth one verse at a time. I have no ideas that I could offer that aren't anywhere near the truth that comes from heaven.
My ideas are are shallow, superficial and purely human. But when you as a preacher handle the word of God, you become the instrument of heaven to communicate divine truth preaching is worth fighting for. Sad to say, having to even title something preaching is worth fighting for, means that there are a lot of folks who have abandoned preaching all kinds of things are called preaching that are anything but might be storytelling, it might be abusing and using scripture. It might be reading into scripture things that aren't in the Scripture manipulating Scripture to say whatever the preacher wants it to say when we talk about preaching were talking about faithfully explaining the meaning of Scripture as intended by God when he revealed it originally. And so I think you're going to find this a very important series of evangelical culture is moving away from faithful biblical preaching, but there is a remnant that are finding their way to expository preaching and they're the ones that God is going to use mightily so stick with us for that series that on Thursday and Friday I want to tell you why love the church.
The church where that preaching reigns supreme. Don't miss the series wise preaching worth fighting for. In the sermon why I love the church yes friend and in John's lesson today he's going to talk about the connection between the sermon you here on Sunday and true worship. So let's get to that message. Here's John showing you why preaching is worth fighting for. There is really only one primary reason to choose a church only one primary reason to choose a church and that is the character of its preaching. Now when people evaluate churches they might evaluate them on the basis of many things, but there's only one that really sets the tone, the single most important reason to choose a church is the nature and character of its preaching and teaching where you have strong biblical preaching and teaching. Everything else tends toward strength where you do not have strong biblical teaching and preaching. Everything else is weak and tends toward shallowness preaching sets the tone in the church proclaiming biblical truth is essential. Why because man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God preaching the word of God teaching the word of God is a critical function in the life of the church and of course we live in a time when preaching is being depreciated and it is being set aside in favor of other forms of communication.
But the essential reality for the church that which basically dictates its strength or weakness is the character of its preaching and teaching you show me a church where there is strong biblical preaching and teaching and I will show you strong people and strong ministry you show me a church where there is weak local preaching and I will show you a church with weak people and weak ministry. That's just how it goes because the word of God is the food that makes believers mature and strong, and the reality is that people in churches all across our country and all around the world are frankly starving. I hear it all the time everywhere I go. It comes through the mail bags every day people saying I can't find any place where I can be fed. I'm starving here or there or wherever it might be. Where do I find some food for my soul is in anybody going to teach me the word of God cries from people all across the world really people are starving, some of them know what they're starving for some of them know there starving for the knowledge of God which comes to his word and some of them don't know it. In fact, there are many people in churches or starting a don't know what for. They really don't know that what they really need is the clear penetrating word of God proclaimed and taught people are starving for the knowledge of God, whether they know it or not.
Some do some don't.
They're starting to know their God deeply to know him broadly to understand the world through his view, there starving for a sound theology that they can live on. Build their life on be anchored by starving for divine wisdom which comes to the knowledge of God, in his revelation, people are starving for the knowledge of God. People live out their beliefs. We we live according to our doctrinal's standards are doctrinal convictions and where there strong enough strong life where the week you tend to have a weak life word is the foundation for everything and God is ordained that it be preached in his church, and that's what makes his church strong in first Peter chapter 4 in verse 11 we read this.
Whoever speaks, let him speak as it were the utterances of God that's simple enough. Whoever speaks, let him speak the utterances of God. Let him speak what God has spoken. Let him preach the word is what it say let him tell us about God from God's own revelation, whoever speaks, let him speak the utterances of God. One of my heroes. Now with the Lord, the great preachers of the church's history was Martyn Lloyd Jones Welshman who preached with such great power in London and looking at his life. One friend said this, he brought more of the sense of God than any other man. That's why he being dead yet speaks that's why his tapes continue to circulate though he's long gone. That's why his material is continually putting the books in red across the face of the earth because he brings people to God when he speaks, he speaks the oracles of God.
If any man speaks but him speak the utterances of God, not his own opinion, not somebody else's opinion, not the collective opinion of any group, not the contemporary consensus when you speak to speak the utterances of God. God has ordained then that people need to know him and that the way in which they can know him is when they are given his word which reveals him and God has chosen the means to be preaching. Let me show you this from Ephesians chapter 4 Ephesians chapter 4 of this is a very very important portion of Scripture starting in verse 11, and running down to verse 16 important enough for me to read it to you and I'll make some brief comments. Ephesians 411 and he gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers are hyphenated pastor teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service or ministry to the building up of the body of Christ until we all attain to the unity of faith and of the knowledge of the son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ. As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming. But speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into him who is the head, even Christ, from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by that which every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love. Great passage, profound far-reaching when we give you this sense of it to start at the end the very that tells you the objective.
The Lord wants a church that is whole, the whole body that is fitted and held together by that which every joint supplies. In other words, he wants a fully functioning body where every factor is functioning appropriately where everything is happening exactly the way it ought to happen.
Further, he describes that as according to the proper working of each individual part Lord wants every individual in his body to be fully functioning, so that the body is whole and fully operative because universe 16.
This causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love the Lord wants to show love to the world.
God so loved the world that he gave his son the Lord wants to demonstrate love to the world. By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another. The Lord wants us to radiate his love to the world his saving love in order to do that we need to be built up and mature in order to be built up and mature.
Every part of the body must be functioning as a going to happen as a going back to verse 11 and he gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastor teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service to the building up of the body of Christ because it happened. The body is built up in love. How does it happen that the body is fully functioning how does it happen that the church is everything God wants it to be. It happens through the ministry of preachers and teachers, apostles, prophets, evangelists and pastor teachers. That's how he identifies he gave these to the church for the building up of the body so that in verse 13.
It all might attain to the unity of the faith. What does that mean sound faith, not the unity of faith subject to, but the unity of faith object. If doctrine the church needs to be built up in sound doctrine.
Notice verse 13 it needs to come to the full knowledge of the son of God, that is to say it needs to think broadly and deeply and highly about the person of Jesus Christ and be enraptured with the fullness of his glory needs to be Christ centered, as well as having sound doctrine, then it can be a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ is to be Christ like and that is to have the full knowledge of Christ and in a full foundation of sound doctrine. Verse 14 suggests that the church is not to be like a little child gets tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming. So many churches are infantile and immature and they are easily distracted and drawn away by error and deception and lies and false teaching. Lord wants a full church the whole church a mature church a fully functioning church, a church that is like Jesus Christ a church.
Where's there is unity of doctrinal understanding where there's a complete absorption in the knowledge of the person of the son of God, where there is Christ likeness.
He wants that church to stand up matured its Christ likeness and radiate his love to a lost world, and in order to bring the church to that place. It says in verse 11, he gave some, apostles and prophets of evangelists, and some pastor teacher, preacher, apostles and prophets were preachers.
The apostles were those unique ones. Call alongside Jesus, the 12 to whom Jesus gave a commission to go and preach. And of course it was there preaching that established the foundation of doctrine so that the early church annexed to 42, studied the apostles doctrine and then once the church was established, the Lord ordained preachers in the church is called prophets early.
They were those who spoke for God in the local churches. They were the proclaimers of truth. Now the apostles and the prophets were the foundation.
Ephesians 220 says he gave apostles and prophets is the foundation of the church after the foundation when the edifice began to go up the apostles and the prophets were replaced by the evangelists in the teaching pastors, evangelists, do what the apostles did the apostles were messengers who took the gospel evangelists are those who preach the gospel to the unconverted, they win people to Christ they plant churches established churches reach lost people bring them into the church and pastor teachers replace the prophets, who then took the church and nurtured and gave God's word to the church. The point I'm making is that all the God's design for the fullness of the maturity of his church to the full stature of Christ likeness is achieved through the ministry of preaching and teaching by gifted men.
That's the life of the church turn to first Corinthians chapter 1. I know there are people today who would like to substitute a music group or a drama team for the preacher. I know there are people who would like to take the word of God out of the preacher's mouth and put something more quote on quote relevant into it. I know there are people who think that the preacher who preaches the word of God is out of touch with where people are and that the most important thing about communication is finding out exactly where people are crossing the bridge where they are.
I know there are people like that today. And there were people like that in Paul's day to Paul with the current court was very sophisticated city was a very old city about 100 years old of been rebuilt by the Romans about 100 years before Paul got there was a frightfully new city was a crossroad city on the sort of a on the peninsula between Greece and Macedonia. It was a crossroads of the world. There was a dynamic city. It was a wicked wicked city. In fact, the verb in the Greek the Corinthian eyes means to go to bed with a prostitute. The town was synonymous with prostitution.
It was in every sense the worst and best of pagan culture, very sophisticated, had the that the worship of all the reigning deities had the trafficking of all the current philosophies and theories of life and time and eternity was all there. The Epicureans were there. The Stoics were there. Everybody was there. It was the crossroads of thought: in that city. Now if you are living in modern times. Somebody want to sit down with him and told him he needed to study the cultural bridges so I could figure out which one across to get to those people and he needed to really be sensitive to how they thought how they act and how they respond and what the world is like and what it felt like to be a Corinthian and certainly are not in utter disregard of that but I want you to notice how Paul approached this very sophisticated city if there was one thing that they loved and current. There was oratory they they were utterly enamored with fancy talkers.
In fact, people used to stand on the shore and put smooth rocks in their mouth and practice speaking to increase their enunciation.
Great stories exist about their oratory was revered complicated, difficult philosophies were held in high esteem summary might've set up all of you to go and they gotta be sharp you gotta be smooth you gotta be clever you gotta be glib. You really gotta understand where they're at and so forth. But listen to what he says. First Corinthians 117. Christ didn't send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not in cleverness of speech suburban.
It took him on at the very point of their cultural identity.
He said the one thing I will not do is meet you on the ground of cleverness of speech. Whether that enamored you are not is immaterial. Christ didn't send me to baptize Christ sent me to preach the gospel, not in cleverness of speech because that could make the cross of Christ. Void I could cancel out the reality of my message if I get garbled up in contemporary jargon and he says in verse 18. I know this the word of the cross is to those who are perishing. What foolishness that's how it is to people who are perishing. It is foolishness, it always will be foolishness, but to those who are being saved it is the power of God, that simple preaching of the gospel. He talks about in chapter 2, preaching Jesus Christ and him crucified in weakness, fear and trembling, not in persuasive words of wisdom that simple trembling the humble preaching of the gospel cause people to criticize Paul mercilessly said his speech is contemptible. Second Corinthians 10, they said, his presence is presences in adequate, unimpressive the man is too simplistic. There's nothing about in the charms us relax oratorical ability.
Where is the great wisdom coming out of this man's mouth. Where are the clever ditties all it is is this simple cross business but to those who are perishing, that's foolishness, but to those who are being saved.
It's the power of God and since God is determining who is being saved. Better to stick with the power right. It is written in verse 19 coronet of Isaiah I will destroy the wisdom of the wise and the cleverness of the clever.
I will set aside. You know God gets great pleasure in ignoring man's egotistical cultural thought patterns and just cutting to the core with the simplicity of the gospel and that's because in verse $0.21 in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God. God was well pleased with the foolishness of preaching literally the Greek through the foolishness of preaching to save those who believe the point is simply this very very profound point. For centuries since the fall, man has been trying to come to God through human wisdom and never succeed so since the world through its wisdom has never come to know God. God has been pleased to save those who believe through the foolishness of preaching, not a question of how sophisticated can you be or how clever can you be or how culturally astute.
Can you be or how relevant can you be it's a question of how clear can you be how clear can you be in articulating the gospel, the good news is God's design through the foolishness of preaching. I know in the eyes of many in the world.
I'm a fool in any preachers that's all right but give God all the glory. When people hear fools and are powerfully transformed DC God has so designed in this because it's his choice to do so from before the foundation of the world, certain men and women would come to know him and be a part of his eternal kingdom. Their names written in the Lamb's book of life, and then God designed that they would come to faith through hearing the message preached that the plan I really don't want to mess with the plan. My responsibility is to be faithful as a preacher preach the word in season and out of season was popular when it's not.
That's the plan. The God through the foolishness of preaching saves those who believe that's his purpose.
People say when you have such an emphasis in your church on preaching and teaching. Now you know right. I remember the man was asking me about our services. Some years back and he said to the tell me about your worship service. He was a pastor and I said sure so we sang. Pray, praise the Lord together as congregation, and then I preach while under service.
All long an hour and 30 minutes noun 45 minutes, sometimes well how much time do you take in that service.
All about 50 minutes or so and he said this well your you're really interrupting worship with all that talking retie something Martin Luther said this is right.
The highest worship of God is the preaching of his word to write you as a congregation cannot honor God more than by listening reverently to his word, with an obedient heart. You can't honor him more. You can't worship him more than by listening to his word, with an obedient heart that's the supreme act of worship. I'm not here to interrupt your worship. I'm here to focus your worship on the God who is being revealed in his word preaching. I take it breaks my heart to see preaching being diminished as it is today to see preachers being diminished throughout the history of the church basically that the force the power of the church with a great man who preached and taught the word of God. Times changed and we need to see God raise up some great preachers in the days ahead.
But that's what we do as a church. If you wonder why we do what we do here. This is what we do it because this is what the word of God tells us to do to open the Scripture and to introduce you to the God is revealed right in all his fullness. So I go right back to where I started. The primary purpose for choosing a church is the biblical preaching is why tooth is that's what makes every other area strong and conforms at all to the word, the God of the word therein lies the power something John MacArthur said moments ago here on grace to you in the eyes of many in the world any preacher is a fool. That's all right because that gives God all the glory. When people hear fools and are powerfully transformed well insight like that answers the question why is preaching worth fighting for. That's the title of John's current study along with teaching here on grace to you.
John is also Chancellor of the Masters University in seminary and this series, John began today. It could be especially helpful for new believers or for a young man, wondering if he should become a pastor if that's you or someone you know pick up the two CD album.
Why is preaching worth fighting for getting touch today to order CDs call our toll-free number 855 grace. You can also place your order online at Jide TY.and keep in mind you can download John's current series.
Why is preaching worth fighting for, free of charge at TTY.infect all of John's sermons 3500 total are free to download at TTY.also friend. Let me remind you that when you donate to this ministry to help take the gospel to people from all walks of life every day grace to you reaches people right where they are whether that's at work in the car or at home to become part of this ministry.
Give firstname.lastname@example.org or call 855 grace and by the way, that number translates to 800-554-7223 our website one more time. TTY.now for John MacArthur in the entire grace to you staff on Phil Johnson. Thanks for making this broadcast part of your day tomorrow.
John continues his series. Why is preaching worth fighting for.
With a look at what biblical preaching is and how it can transform you and your church. Don't miss the next half hour of unleashing God's truth one verse at a time on grace to