Dluxe's World

Tuesday, February 7

Thoughts on "Give Praise to God" - Part 3 of 3278

My book has made a shift from discussing the guiding principles behind 'constructing' corporate worship to an exploration of different facets of worship. Al Mohler, who I've mentioned a couple times on this blog, presents this state of affairs relative to preaching:
The anemia of evangelical worship is directly attributed to the absence of genuine expository preaching. Such preaching would confront the congregation with nothing less than the living and active word of God. That confrontation will shape the congregation as the Holy Spirit accompanies the word, opens eyes, and applies that word to human hearts. (p.111)

Powerful stuff... As believers, shouldn't our desire be to meet God and be molded by the clear proclamation of the Word? Why would we 'settle' for less?

During another conversation today, I started to wonder if we are encouraged to seek a maturing faith… In a rare moment of inspiration, I made the analogy to parents teaching their kids to eat well. If I allow my kids to just eat candy, what's the likelihood that they'll want steak or spinach or something later? By exposing, encouraging, and, yes, even forcing, them to try strange, green things called "veggies", we're working to build good habits for the future. If we do that over cauliflower, imagine the exhortation we should give/receive to have a maturing faith…

The second point is that, by nature, I think we're often quite comfortable *not* being confronted by the living God... People who bump into God face-to-face are not usually thrilled or jolly over the experience. When we’re confronted with our sin vs. God’s holiness, our malaise vs. His sacrifice, we realize where we rightly stand. We often want God to be something we're comfortable with, and that’s not the sum total of God revealed through grounded expository preaching.

The next essay really got me thinking... Dovetailing off Dr. Mohler's comments, Mark Dever presents the synergy that should exist between evangelistic and expository preaching. To quote:
Through expositional preaching, non-Christians need to be instructed in the truth and taught how God views his world - including them. They need to be challenged to rethink their priorities, their work, their family, and most of all their own lives. They need to be rediagnozed by God's word. Both Christians and non-Christians need to hear God's word expounded. (p.126)

Whether a sermon is truly evangelistic is determined not by our motives or the results afterward or by the setting or the style, the time or the place. One thing and one thing alone determines whether a sermon can properly be said to be evagelistic, and that is its content. Is the evangel - the Good News - present? Even better, is it presented forcefully and with heart to sinners in need? (p.127)

Dever's case is that Pastors have fallen victim to seeing those as separate exercises, rather than a synergistic whole. Certainly this is our distinction, not the Lord's. Just look at something like Galatians 3 and 4. Believers should be eager to hear the clarity of the Gospel and refresh our wonder at being ransomed from slavery for adoption as sons. In that same breath, the seeker is confronted with their need for grace and the great gift that was offered through Christ.

The amusing thing is this linking of exposition and evangelism obviously makes perfect sense. So, why do we try to segment the two so often in practice? That’s been running through my head all day.

Just an amusing side-note, in good fun: Dever suggests that “[e]ven sermon titles can be provocative for drawing people to consider their lives and consider coming to hear the sermon.”

Our most recent sermon title at church was “Who’s Your Daddy?”... Provocative titles? We’ve got that in spades.

Especially if your parentage is a little clouded.

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