Dear ITEM Partner,
The big idea the first day was “an Ephesians 4 church.” Yesterday was mostly a theology of preaching. Today was the form of the sermon being preached. The truth of the matter is that preaching is easy. It really is! There are “preachers” all over the world that stand in the pulpit and preach long sermons with little or no preparation. Yes, preaching is easy. Preaching well is not. Today we spent our time talking about preaching basics: Preaching 101. And we ended the time with a discussion about why Christians confess their sins if they are already forgiven. Click here for the details.
After a lecture on the power in our preaching using Jonah as an example, covered the basics of preaching. What I am calling here, Preaching 101.
PREACHING 101: 1 TIM 4:13
I use this one verse to keep preaching to the basics. Paul wrote to Timothy, “Until I come, give your attention to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, and to teaching.” (Different translations use different words.)
Paul reduced preaching down to reading the text, explaining the meaning of the text, and applying the principles of the text; Read it, explain it, apply it. Pretty simple! But to make the sermon worthwhile is hard work. When I told them that I used to spend 15 hours a week preparing my sermons, a lot of eyes opened wide. I then took them through the weekly process.
WHAT DOES IT SAY?
Step one is to spend time reading over the passage several times and answering that question, “What does it actually say?” To do this right, it can take hours, looking for key words, repeated words, phrases, relationships.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN?
The next step is to figure out the meaning. That is, what did it mean to the author when he wrote it and the original audience when they read it? That also can take a long time.
HOW DOES IT APPLY TO OUR LIVES TODAY?
After coming to conclusions about what it means by what it says, look for universal principles that can be applied today.
After finishing these steps, standing up and telling the church what you found should be easy.
The big question today was, “If all of our sins are forgiven, why do we continue to ask for forgiveness?”
ANS: I took 30 minutes to answer. Summary: Christians are forgiven past, present, future. Though we have become slaves of God and righteousness (Rom 6:18), we all realize we still sin (1 John 1:8; Rom 7:15-17). And since we know that we still sin, we still agree with God about our sin, when it happens (i.e. confess, 1 John 1:9). We don’t have to confess to receive more forgiveness. It’s just what we are compelled to do.
I could go on and would like to but it is getting late and I need to pack for my trip back to Nairobi tomorrow. I’ll have more to say about “today,” tomorrow.
Thanks for your ongoing prayers and interest.
By His grace,