In Christ, Nathan
We are just over the half way mark of our time of sabbatical. In fact, half way through my sermon this coming Sunday will be half way through our series in Colossians. As we come in to the home stretch let us not give up on doing good. This is not a time for us to cease being the church. This is not a time of vacation from the Christian life. There is no time off from Christ. He is all that we have and all that we live for. So in these closing days my charge to each of you is to finish the race strong. Be in church. Be in ministry. Be in fellowship. Be in Christ. Perseverance is not about how we start the race but how we finish it. Oak Crest, we have started off strong, may we finish in the same way.
In Christ, Nathan
Just a quick reminder, this Sunday April 19th, we will have our church wide spaghetti luncheon immediately after the morning service. All of the donations for this lunch will go directly to our students for their trip to Joplin, Missouri in June with World Changers. This is our fifth World Changers and we can’t wait to see how God works this year. World Changers is a youth mission’s opportunity where we will be put on construction teams to help work on needy homes in the community of Joplin. Our students will have many opportunities to share their faith. Please join us for this time of great food and fellowship as we support our youth. We will serve a full lunch (includes salad, homemade spaghetti w/meat sauce, garlic bread and dessert) in the Fellowship Hall. If you cannot stay we will be able to provide you with take home dinners. We hope to see you there!
I want to let you all know of two upcoming outreach opportunities that you can be a part of.
This coming Saturday, from 10am to noon, we will be canvassing the neighborhood talking to people about Oak Crest and looking for opportunities to share the gospel. If you’ve been a part of these efforts in the past we could use your experience. If you’ve not done this before we’d love for you to come as well and take part. For those of you who want to go out but don’t feel comfortable doing the talking, don’t hesitate to come. We will pair you up with someone who has experience and it will be a great opportunity for you to get your feet wet in outreach. For those of you who are not able to walk the neighborhood we would really love for you to come, stay behind at the church, and pray for us. Prayer is a vital part of this effort so we’d love to see lots of people just here to pray on Saturday. We will meet at the church at 10am, have a brief prep time, and be back to the church by noon. Make this a priority for your weekend.
A week from Sunday, Sunday April 19th, we will have our church wide spaghetti luncheon immediately after the service. How is this an outreach effort you ask? All of the donations for this lunch will go directly to our students for their trip to Joplin, Missouri in June. Please join us for this time of great food and fellowship as we support our youth. If you cannot stay we will be able to provide you with take home dinners. We hope to see you there.
Why is it beneficial to preach through books of the Bible?
When W. A. Criswell first came to First Baptist Dallas, he told the congregation he was going to preach through the entire bible. Upon hearing this, several people came to him to kindly let him know he would empty the church if he did. After almost 50 years of pastoring First Baptist Dallas, Criswell left a legacy as one of the greatest preachers of our time. So what is the benefit of preaching through books of the bible?
First it's important to distinguish between the two primary forms of preaching: topical and expositional. Topical preaching takes a topic and uses different text to bring out truth about the topic. There is an appropriate time and place for topical preaching. In fact, you could qualify one of the greatest preachers of all time, Charles Spurgeon, as a topical preacher. The problem with topical preaching is it lends itself to proof texting (taking text out of context), opens the sermon up to the preacher’s opinions, and over time can leave a congregation simply feeding on practical self helps and not the rich truth of scripture. Expository preaching takes the text of scripture, explains it, and applies it. That is an oversimplified definition as there is much more that goes with it. I like to think of true expository preaching as text driven preaching; letting the text alone drive the explanation and application of the sermon. I think there are clear benefits over time for the preacher and the congregation to text driven preaching.
You don't have to preach through books of the bible to be an expositional preacher. In fact, preaching through books of the bible is not as common as you might think it is among expositors. So why do it?
1. It is practical
It takes a gifted person to say anything of value on any given topic week after week. Because of this, topical only preachers’ sermons tend to sound the same over time. There is only so much you can say on any given topic. Spurgeon was the exception. He was a brilliantly gifted man who wouldn’t start to prepare for his sermons until the night before he was to preach. If I waited till the night before I preached to prepare a sermon it would come out sounding like a Dr. Seuss book. There is a lot of time that goes into sermon preparation and it makes since to not waste time thinking about what text or topic will come next. This might not sound like a big deal but choosing a text or topic can be very time consuming. This is valuable time that the preacher could use on study of the text, if he knows when and where he is going. It also helps the study flow as themes and issues tend to come up throughout any given book. Time spent in study early on will make the preacher’s preparation much more productive.
2. It guards the preacher
There are two things that come to mind here in how preaching through books of the bible protects the preacher. First, it protects him from proof texting. Taking a text out of context is very easy to do, even for the most biblically sound preacher. Preaching through a book forces the preacher to look at everything in the context of the book and scripture as a whole. Second, it guards the preacher from crafting application based on things happening in the life of the church. If the text for each week’s sermon is seemingly random to the congregation, and the issues that come up in the sermon are immediately relevant to problems in the church, people might accuse the preacher of making sermons that are specifically directed at them. Preaching through books of the bible allows the text and the Holy Spirit to do the convicting and this is especially helpful when the text relates to current issues in the life of the church.
3. It sustains the church
Preaching through the whole counsel of scripture produces endurance and strength in the life of the congregation over time. Think of all the themes of scripture. Joy, sanctification, redemption, love, justice, mercy, and the list goes on and on. Now think about how W A Criswell must have touched every theme of scripture over his close to 50 years at First Baptist Dallas. When scripture is all that is being preached there is no subject or topic that will go untouched. The church will surely know the deep riches of the gospel when the Word is faithfully proclaimed week in and week out. Preaching through books of the bible allows the Spirit to convict, brings forth the knowledge of his will, and sustains the church over time.