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What Happened to Expository Preaching? (Part 2 of 2)

Truth for Life / Alistair Begg
The Truth Network Radio
October 12, 2022 4:00 am

What Happened to Expository Preaching? (Part 2 of 2)

Truth for Life / Alistair Begg

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October 12, 2022 4:00 am

Why have some pastors turned away from expository preaching? Has God’s Word lost its place in today’s worship services? Discover why Scripture, not personal style, provides the framework for solid preaching. That’s on Truth For Life with Alistair Begg.


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Why is so many contemporary pastors veered away from expository preaching has God's Word lost its place in today's worship services. Alistair Begg offers answers to these questions today on Truth for Life it I think that we not we acknowledge and remember and help each other to acknowledge and remember that when we gather together as companies of God's people. It is not to enjoy preaching eloquence or to criticize the lack thereof but is to hear and to heed the word of God, we come to be exhorted not to be entertained and sadly I would suggest to that is precisely what is taking place and that in our day. The expositor of Scripture has been equipped by a variety of said substitutions may suggest one or two for you. Number one the cheerleader. Secondly, the conjurer. Thirdly, the storyteller, I don't want to drive you nuts with this but what about the entertainer entertainer instead of the preacher.

He decides he's become an entertainer. The systematize. I've only got 2 to 3 more the systematize or failure to the preacher reviews the text of Scripture merely as a backdrop for a doctrinal lecture who simply want to take the Bible and use it to explain something that he just read in a fat book somewhere that really give them a jazz which is not a legitimate atoll but is not expository preaching.

This is very different from the individual who in the course of exegete in a passage draws out the elements of Christian doctrine right is all the difference in the world between executing a president and then explicating the Christian doctrine that unfolds from that not talk about Land Rover, the person is going to be in his bonnet about some part of Christian doctrine and he's going to come and find a verse and and and do that with note. We hear this kind of preaching we don't doubt his truthfulness, but we do wonder the absence of passion and while we recognize and will see this again.

That one's theological framework obviously affects our view of the Bible. We need to work very hard to make sure that the Scripture rules our framework and not the other way around. The psychologist is what I call US Airways preaching in the airlines magazine in US Airways magazine. There is a regular feature that you read when you travel provided by a psychologist as is actually I almost always read it, and it's almost always to my benefit.

I've learned useful tips about bringing out my children, dealing with impatience having applied many of them, but I learned him and and I've been reminded also on occasion to purchase far as my wife before I went home from the airport but that's as far as it goes. And finally, as as far as it should go. Unfortunately, many contemporary boo-boos are increasingly filled with pseudo-psychologist who have decided to become purveyors of helpful insights, most of which can be and often are delivered without reference to the Bible and this is the subtlety of it is not that these men are endeavoring to be bad is not they want to set aside the Bible. Indeed, if you hesitantly said when we're doing a very good job of teaching the Bible we just have a kind of fill in the blanks approach, seven principles for effective fathering fill in the blanks. The top 10 challenges facing couples today and you go months those congregations you find them crying out what they were crying out on that day.

Now my chapter 8 with a shouted as her bring out the book bring out the book. Just bring on the book for goodness sake let us have the Bible, would you please because of because Emily just gave me. I got in the US Airways magazine. I was traveling this week on ice and ice all that stuff. We must we must of been on the same plane because you just given us on the same stuff and don't you fiddle around and lace it with a few Bible verses make me think they are teaching me the Bible you're not teaching me the Bible and then the danger of what I refer to as naked, preaching, naked preaching and this Geico file K who says that to preach to really preach is to die naked a little at a time to know every time you do that you have to do it all over again not talking about that sense of vulnerability that is an inevitable element of just investing our lives in the teaching of the Bible, but rather the way in which the pope it has become a place for pastors to share their faults and their foibles and then attempt at authenticity. I want to let my congregation know how real I am as if they needed to make that discovery they been with as an on enough occasions to know how real we actually are.

David plenty of time to recognize that both we and they are redeemed sinners, and the sermon is not usually the best place for that kind of sharing.

We got our hands full proclaiming the gospel, pointing to Christ telling the story and I want to suggest that is not advisable to use the time to point to ourselves and to use it to share our story out. I think I've said I figure set up the problem well enough to to ask the question if there is an absence of every expository preaching. Why is that I want to suggest to you, just a couple of things number one because of a loss of confidence in the Bible, a loss of confidence in the Scriptures. I don't think we can deny the fact that the absence of expository preaching is directly related to an erosion of confidence in both the authority and the sufficiency of Scripture the beginning of the 19th century when the battle lines were drawn against the forces of liberalism.

Liberals were challenging the miraculous. They were questioning the divine. They were opposing the historicity of the New Testament and evangelicals were raised up in the weather that storm. By and large, and today the empty liberal churches testify to the futility of the liberals quest for a demythologized Christ by large Pulitzer that's a blood that is a load of bunk. Even the average businessman said that's but that is nonsense. That's bogus. I'm going golfing if he doesn't believe it to be dead. Sure, I'm not believing and I'm not going to go and sit in their lesson with you, Mary. While that man dribbles down his chin and so they have essentially given up on. I want to suggest to the back of the Bible is a far more subtle battle today than ever it was from the forces of liberalism came jumping on the counter to say Jesus did not walk on water in the resurrection is a myth because the battle for the Bible today is not a battle with liberals is a battle with conservatives Sabato with people in our own ranks who made who who signed the same doctrinal statements and who, by their very commitment or their very lack of commitment: question whether they believe this Bible is absolutely authoritative and absolutely sufficient. The Scriptures are based neglected debased used as a springboard for talks that are far removed from genuine biblical exposition is very possible to to attend a service of worship in an avowedly evangelical congregation and find that if the Bible is read or refer to a tall and there is no guarantee it will be is weightless in his influence because of the inadequate presentation or emphasis.

There is little sense or any notion of the preacher or the congregation borrowing beneath the majesty of God's authoritative work because we live in a time when being unclear and vague is involved. There is a contemporary distrust for anyone or anything who is assured or authoritative young pastors I think are often intimidated. In such an environment, and consequently begin to preach sermons at other Genesis and what people want to hear rather than in what God has chosen to say in command Dick Lucas and I had to mention them sooner or later the pastor of St Helens Bishopsgate church in London highlighted the danger in this approach when he said it one of the pastors conferences. The pupil cannot control the pool but we cannot delivered demand led preaching because no one demands the gospel and so the exposition of Scripture is undermined out. It is being undermined and this is what makes it so grave and souls soar to our hearts by good guys who are either oblivious to it or nave to hate exposition of Scripture is also undermined by a fascination with the so-called extra biblical prophetic word right Sambo I and II know pastor that you that you have a Bible and I know you know a lot of verses in the Bible because you studied it a lot but I have a very pressing problem and I wonder if you can just give me a word directly from God. And please don't use the table. I'd like to have just a just a straight in a straight shot. I know we may differ on some of these things. I found Sinclair Ferguson's book on the Holy Spirit, published in 1996 by inter-varsity press very helpful on the subject. He doesn't deal with it in depth, but he says for example, while it is denied that additions are being made to the canon of Scripture when people give extra biblical prophetic words. While it is denied that additions are being made to the canon of Scripture, it is nevertheless implied that an actual addition is being made to the canon of living, otherwise the illumination of Scripture and the wisdom to apply it would be sufficient. So why then would people quit on expository preaching well because of a loss of confidence in the Bible. Secondly, because it started to fight the wrong battles you see when a pastor becomes convinced that the central issue facing the church's political or psychological rather than theological exposition will be for sake in the favor of political speeches are called to wage war for quotes.

The soul of the nation as a nation have a soul. I know what it means, but I'm not sure it is accurate or we called to wage war for the souls of men and women in respect of the of the political climate in which they live with her thereunder. The burden of the Dallas regime whether there living in Albania under the curse of atheistic communist with her thereunder.

The environment of a rampant capitalism what they need is to hear from God concerning where they stand in relationship to God. When a man loses that focus, and he'll be tempted to mobilize his congregation to vote rather than to pray will be mobilized, not on the basis of a divine mandate but on the strength of a human agenda, Martin Lloyd Jones preaching in Canada in first Thessalonians 1. Five. He managed to get this out of first Thessalonians, 15.

For those of another installer was a great expositor.

The thing that makes the Christian message. A gospel is that it is a proclamation of the good news. It is not just topical comments on the latest scandal in the newspaper or the latest bits of news.

It is not that we spend our time in telling kings and princes and presidents and prime ministers are the art of rerunning their countries and how they are to be sold in the international problem. We are not qualified to do so. What was it the apostle preached about did the apostle preached politics to these people did he say to them, it is time you banded yourselves together and raised in our link to rid yourselves of the yoke of the Roman Empire. Did he object to taxation. Did he protest against the various things that were happening that was not his message tall seems always to me that what we have to go in his apostolic precept and apostolic practice. The question is not what would Jesus do, why not because we have to read the Gospels in light of the acts and the epistles. And we know what Jesus would do only as it is interpreted for us by the apostles who have written down the epistles so that we would be able to understand the revelation of Christ that we have in the gospel records himself in. For example, you can build a doctrine of the atonement to start of the Gospels.

You need the epistles to the question what would Jesus do we normally answer the half of those questions. How are we supposed to build to determine what it is was posted by reading the Bible when Jesus promises to his disciples, who have forgotten half of what he had taught them that he will that the Holy Spirit will come and remind them of the things they forgotten he will get an article or Jesus is going to remind us of everything we forgot really didn't say that he didn't say that to you cloth ears. He said that the apostles descended to the apostles.

What have you forgotten that he told you about nothing because you never told me about anything.

He told the apostles about stuff and made for God's, and he says not to send the Holy Spirit. He'll remind you and he will lead you into all truth. How do we know all truth in the apostolic records. We don't know all truth by going on directly dreaming it up know it is only as we have it in the Scriptures. That is why when people say, well, you just don't understand. Maybe I don't but I if I'm going to air on one side I'm going to err on the side of apostolic precept and apostolic practice.

You know, it is good enough in their puzzle ball is good enough for me, a bit light will be will see about the King James version of the Bible's well this really is a passion for me now when I wake up and lie down and sleep young men beginning pastoral ministry are besieged by members of their congregation. One thing urging them demanding to begin their sermons with man and his need rather than God and his glory and they are asking for what they don't need what they need is not what they want, and brethren were going have to be bold in these days kind but bold because just like our children are daft.

So without demeaning our congregations. A lot of them are daft as well and you have been given as a gift by Christ himself to the church as a pastor teacher, your gift to the church. They don't pay you to preach.

They couldn't pay you enough to preach. They couldn't pay you too little that would stop you preaching they want to give you money that's finally able to preach is one of the guys said it was Gypsy Smith or something says you put me in a barrel of sharp glory to God out of the bunghole fine while white why is there an absence well one because of a loss of confidence in the Scriptures. This is obviously selective. This is not exhausted. It may be exhausting you, but is not an exhaustive list, a loss of confidence in the Bible, suckered into fighting the wrong battles. And thirdly, a lack of excellent role models, a lack of excellent role models are clearly nobody's going to say there are non-because there are, but there aren't many. The question is asked me when I I'm sure you find your ass the same questions when you going speak at some of these seminaries now and that the booze faculty of practical theology as opposed to the faculty of impractical theology sits down with you at lunch and says I can you help us. We have a problem.

This happened to me on three separate occasions now I can you help as we have a problem with teaching our students exegesis trying to teach them how to be scholarly with the word and effective with the Bible. And yet, within a few months of most of them, leaving no matter how much we try to drown into them. They get into pastoral situations where they seem to be a man enamored with dramatic success stories that are driven more by the market than by apostolic passerine and consequently they tend to adopt models that are introducing them into all kinds of approaches which whatever else they are about are certainly not about teaching the Bible in an expository fashion before we jump to immediately condemn those who have become engaged. In this way, we need to recognize that such ministries are taking seriously the need to engage the contemporary culture, which is a worthy intention, indeed, is a vital aspect of what we do with the point of weakness is in beginning at that point because to begin at that point allows the culture rather than the Bible to establish an controller proclamation. That's the subtlety and it you know like the.

They young guy, the Anglican says raised his bishop and he said I was. I started a series in Mark's gospel.

Not many people were coming and the other unit is a dreadful flood in our time and so I put on the note sporting Saturday night by the flood came to Birmingham you know, and it was a great and wonderful success is wondering bishop. If you think I'll just stick with Mark's gospel or just a do something else and the Bishop will buy and say well if you if you wait for the floods will be rather scanty new material. But if you stick with Markkula was of something to say and if we constantly allow the preoccupations of the world to be the launching pad for our preaching. We will miss many vital things that God desires to say to us, on the other side of the fence and I'm talking about an approach to exposition that will come back to tomorrow because this all begs the question what is expository preaching and you know who knows the Lord we come back before I have to answer that question but that we can live in hope. But that so we've got one group of people who are seeking immediately to engage the contemporary culture with scant reference to the Bible and then on the other hand, you get a group of individuals are very committed to the faithful exposition of the Scripture are so horribly buried in the text so completely divorced from the culture they can even make any impact at all. So there's three bodies to dreadful extremes. People run from church to church and is polarized. We can either go over here where it starts off in all with didn't didn't didn't didn't dated the date that it did you know say hey good morning and thank you regarding very glad to see you or you come over here is Lord normal molar barn on the blog will only hold it on the longingly dwelling of figure 1 rib over here that is dying under the weight of all this information is been shoveled on their heads. Even another group over here who do nothing with the Bible at all the people all go and run like this another 200 biblical exposition, not even the sky. You may think is you may be doing exegesis into an exposition. I think one of the reasons drawing this to a close for disinterest in expository preaching is surely that so many attempts at it prove lifeless and dull, and even thoroughly boring and fighting is one of the reasons for the disinterest in preaching because there's so much bad preaching and we are the problem. Guys then amazing of the ingenuity of that. Let's just say our ingenuity. I'm going to say the ingenuity of others It should we be amazed at our ingenuity that were capable of taking the powerful life changing text of Scripture and communicating with all the passion of someone that is reading aloud from the Yellow Pages that we can take this glorious unbelievable message and come across so lifeless and so they'll Calvin said of God's work in preaching. He deigns to consecrate the modes and tongues of men to his service. Making his own voice to be Herod in them. Whenever God is pleased to bless their labor.

He makes their doctrine efficacious by the power of his spirit and the voice which in itself is mortal is made an instrument to communicate eternal life.

They see that establishes the immeasurable significance of the preacher's task, and yet at the same time gives to as the antidote to pride because the preacher is God's servant submitting to and proclaiming the text of Scripture, the passage itself is the voice the speech of God. The preacher is the mouth on the lips and the congregation the ear in which the voice sounds in the expositor is not appointed moving his listeners by cadence or by imagery, nor is he an author reading from a manuscript he is a Harold speaking by the strength and authority of heaven. 50 years ago, James Stewart discarded Presbyterian said I think is probably true today. The disease of modern preaching is it Serge after popularity expositor preaching means at least this unfolding. The text of Scripture in a way that makes contact with the listeners world while exalting Christ and confronting them with the need for action and we need to carefully identify and emulate role models in this noble pursuit use every pastor's job to expound the Bible and point people to Jesus roasting the Truth for Life that is Alistair Begg, reminding us of the authority and sufficiency of Scripture. If you are in ministry and would like to get back to the essentials of preaching God's word each year. Alister hosts a conference at Parkside church specifically for pastors and church leaders conference is called basics and if you were unable to attend. Basics 2022. Back in May. You can listen to or watch all of the presentations from Alister from the guests John Woodhouse and Tony Marita all the conference sessions can be viewed for you can also listen to other basics conferences from the past, going all the way back to 2002 visit basics watch or listen to as many of these as you'd like your Truth for Life.

We believe that God's word is infallible and eternal. As we learned in today's message. People are hungry for the word of God. And that's why every day we teach God's word with the expectation that God will work through his word to convert unbelievers to establish believers and encourage pastors so that local churches will be strengthened. Hope this is been your experience as you listen each day along with Alister's messages. We love to recommend books to help you grow in your faith and because it is pastor appreciation month.

Today we are featuring a book called partners in the gospel. This is a collection of devotions for the wives of pastors and elders should request the book partners in the gospel when you give a donation today that Truth for Bob Lapine we find good role models for effective preaching tomorrow. Alister takes us on an historical journey through the church is rich Bible teaching of Alistair Begg is furnished by Truth for Life or the learning is for

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