Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Acts so far - the content of preaching

The disciples were clear about one thing when it came to preaching or teaching or sharing about the faith: the Word of God must be the mainstay of their proclamation. Specifically, it was the Word of God about the Word of God himself: Jesus Christ (vv. 4:2, 12, 33; 5:42; 8:5, 12, 35;9:20, 22; 10:42-43; 11:14 (implied), 20; 13:26 (implied), 38; 14:7, 21). They proclaimed boldly (vv. 4:13, 31; 9:27, 28) and would not be constrained by injunctions to stop preaching.

A few lessons for preachers:
  1. Our sermons must be Christological if it is to be apostolic. This means that we must relate the text of Scripture to Christ and his grace of salvation.
  2. The Word of God must govern the content of our sermon, not only in its substance but also in its parameters. This means that we must treat fairly and deal honestly with the text of Scripture to be expounded, whether preaching systematically or topically. If not, the sermon is only a pep talk and not a life-giving message. A pep talk may energise for a season but it offers no hope for the long haul.
  3. We should not need to apologise for the Word of God if it creates offence for we are only its ambassador, not its originator. At the same time, we should not have to bend the Word of God to suit the ears of the hearers. We offer the Word of God freely - nobody should presume that because he pays the piper, he has the prerogative to call the tune. We own no such and deny all such loyalty, obligation or debt.

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