Friday, July 22, 2005

10 Commandments and Expository Preaching...

The follow two segments come from an email from Preaching Magazine's

Why the Ten Commandments matter

In his book Written in Stone: The Ten Commandments and Today's Moral Crisis (Crossway), Philip Graham Ryken observes, "Good teaching on the law and the gospel has never been more badly needed than it is today. We are living in lawless times, when disrespect for authority has led to widespread disdain for God's commandments. People are behaving badly, even in church.

"Part of the problem is that people don't know what God requires. Even among Christians there is an appalling lack of familiarity with the perfect standard of God's law, and of course the situation is far worse in the culture at large. This ignorance undoubtedly contributes to the general lowering of moral standards in these post-Christian times, but it does as much damage to our theology. People who are ignorant of God's law never see their need for the gospel. As John Bunyan explained it, 'The man who does not know the nature of the law cannot know the nature of sin. And he who does not know the nature of sin cannot know the nature of the Savior.'"

Can evangelistic preaching be expository?

In the book Give Praise to God: A Vision for Reforming Worship (P&R Publishing), Mark Dever writes, "Expositional preaching is all about giving God's people God's word. It is preaching in which the point of the biblical passage is the point of the preacher's message. This is what it means to preach expositionally — to expose God's word.

"Christians are obviously to be fed with God's word. As our Lord said to the tempter: 'Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God' (Matt. 4:4; Luke 4:4) . . . Non-Christians too, though, need God's word. Those who do not yet believe the gospel need to be told of their hopelessness apart from Christ. They need to have God's word presented to them; they need God's Spirit to convict them of their own sin and desperation. Being so liable to God's judgment, they need to hear of God's grace.

"All this can happen through expositional preaching. Through such biblically faithful sermons, non-Christians can have Satan's lies exposed, God's truth revealed, their own hearts searched, and Christ's grace magnified to them."


Bret Capranica said...

Amen to Dever's quote. Regarding Ryken's: I am often confused by some who advocate preaching "the law" because we are a lawless society and do not know what God requires. Deuteronomy 10:12-11:1 (along with Deuteronomy 6:4-5, etc.) is THE law and explicitly details what God requires, and more notably, why He requires it. Is this aspect of preaching the law what Ryken has in mind?

mrclm said...

Well it is of course a bit difficult to speak for Dr. Ryken, but I'll give you my thoughts anyhow.

I think the law is useful, especially when dealing with the unchurched and unbelieving. I'm not talking about the beat you over the head turn or burn usage of the law though. I think one of the dangers of our society (and probably every pagan society in the history of the world) is the general celebration of sinfulness. We can even read of it in the Old Testament. Many people know what they are doing is at some level wrong, but because it is tolerated they continue on doing it. I used to be in that group. I enjoyed my sin. This of course changed when I began to understand who God is, and how this grieves Him. I had to come to the place (or God brought me to the place)where I couldn't do it myself, and where I had come to terms with the depths of my sinfulness before I could understand my need for Christ. The Law is useful for convicting, and then you deliver the Grace of the Gospels. Certainly this is just one method, but it is an effective method IMHO. I don't think Ryken is talking about legalism and things of that sort.

So I don't know if that answers your question, but maybe it'll cause more thought.

Big Chris